Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra announced last week that his department would be ramping up enforcement of the COVID-19 emergency order and deputies have issued approximately 75 citations so far.

That’s not going to change on Easter weekend.

“The objective of the order is for people to stay away from each other. That’s the only way … to combat this pandemic,” Guerra said Friday. “So I know that it’s very difficult, especially in our culture, because during the most holiest of all holidays, families all want to be together.

“But we’re going to have to make a sacrifice for this one holiday so we can all help each other.”

Guerra said his deputies will be out on patrol during the weekend and have discretion to issue citations for people not complying with the emergency order, which prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people.

“We are approaching it. Our staff knows that there will probably be some people that are going to want to gather and get together for Easter,” Guerra said. “We remind them that the shelter-at-home order does not allow for more than 10 people gathered at one place.”

The sheriff recommended that any celebrations be limited to core family members.

Guerra said staff from the Sheriff’s Academy, Support Services and Crime Prevention units, which are currently shut down, are out on patrol, increasing the number of deputies who are on the street.

As of April 9, his department has arrested 16 people on charges of violation of the emergency order while deputies have issued approximately 75 citations.

In all, 40 people in Hidalgo County have been booked into jail for charges of violating the emergency order. Nearly all of those individuals also face additional charges.

However, just five agencies have actually been arresting people, including Mission, which has arrested nine people, Weslaco, which has arrested six people, Palmview, which has arrested eight people, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has made one arrest.