In a hearing Friday evening, Judge Jill Willis stated her intent to grant a temporary restraining order against the city of McKinney’s shelter in place order, which went into effect Thursday.
The hearing was in regard to a lawsuit filed by McKinney realtor Derek Baker, claiming the city’s motion was in conflict with the county’s ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order.
“It causes a great deal of confusion for business owners like me and hundreds of others across the city of McKinney,” said Baker.
Specifically, Baker points to the city’s attempt to “define essential businesses,” while the county’s declaration deemed all businesses “essential.”
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Friday the judge agreed with Baker on that point along with his arguments that the city’s order imposes tougher restrictions, forces more people to stay home, fails to define “gatherings,” and uses an arbitrary description for “essential businesses.”
She also agreed that a restriction forcing all religious and worship services be provided only by video and teleconference conflicted, too.
“We’re taking measures to make sure we protect the safety, the health, the wellbeing of our community, and to have somebody try to impede that was shocking,” said Mayor George Fuller.
Fuller, who’s named in the suit, points to an understanding by Collin County’s city governments that Judge Chris Hill’s order allowed them to implement stricter orders if they believed it necessary.
Following Friday’s hearing, he challenged Hill to put that perception into writing.
“Now is a time that he could step up and amend his order to say that he very specifically grants the city the ability to implement stricter orders,” said Fuller.
Though the order isn’t set to take effect until another hearing Monday, Fuller said he’s prepared to appeal.
“For me, the science and the data are there that we need to take this extremely seriously, and we need to put in place the measures now before we have the considerable outbreaks that they have in other parts of the country. So, I stand by what I’ve done. I’ll fight to continue doing it,” said Fuller.
If McKinney’s order is overturned, Fuller said he believes there could be ramifications for others well beyond his city limits.
“This is something that’s not going to impact just McKinney but it’s going to impact Richardson, Princeton, Frisco, not to mention other situations across the country that are going to be challenged the same way,” said Fuller.
Dallas, Denton and Tarrant Counties have all ordered shelter in place restrictions.
UPDATE: Collin County Judge Chris Hill responded Saturday saying, “I called Mayor Fuller yesterday evening to offer my assistance in bringing the city's orders into clear harmony with the county's. He agreed to work with me towards that goal.”
There's no word yet though on whether that will have an impact on Monday's ruling.