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Can man camps stay open during the COVID-19 crisis?

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis says man camps can stay open, although he believes there is a better alternative.

ODESSA, Texas — The country has been advised to not gather in groups larger than 10 and to also stay six feet away from other people because of COVID-19. So where does this leave man camps?

Man camps, a common sight in west Texas, can house hundreds of people at a time. People in are typically in very close quarters, which can lead to COVID-19 spreading more easily.

So what precautions are these man camps taking?

"Those man camps have got like individual little efficiency rooms so they are isolated. Each person is isolated from the person next to them so the only place that they would gather would be if they went to together for meals,” Ector County Judge Debi Hays said.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis only hopes that these places follow the guidelines of social distancing that the government has recommended.

"I am certain many of them are still operational. It’s a residential facility and hopefully they’re abiding by the 10 person social gathering rule and really and truly I hope they’re all self-quarantining while they’re not working,” Griffis said.

But why are these places still open?

They're residential structures, and those are allowed to remain open during these times.

"It’s like a hotel or anything else. It’s a space that's rented for that individual to reside in while out here working, and it’s just like the residence, just like you’re staying in apartment or home or hotel. I mean we can’t really regulate what they do unless they get over 10 people in a common area," Griffis said.

But the safest alternative to these man camps, according to Griffis, is to stay at home so that you aren't exposing yourself to the virus.


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