Dallas County announces shelter in place order to mitigate COVID-19 spread

This graph shows hospitalizations in Texas versus hospital bed capacity under varying levels of action to curb the spread of coronavirus. It was last updated on March 19. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a shelter-in-place order Sunday to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Dallas County residents must stay in their homes except for essential activities, such as going to the grocery store or seeking medical care, or essential work. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and will continue until 11:59 p.m. April 3.

Residents who violate the order may face a fine or jail time, Jenkins said.

Cities within Dallas County include Addison, Carrollton, Dallas, Grand Prairie, Irving, Lewisville and others, according to the Dallas County website.

“It doesn’t matter whether your job is in Fort Worth, or whether your job is in downtown Dallas or Plano. If you live here, you’re under this order,” Jenkins said.

According to the Dallas County website, there are 131 positive COVID-19 cases in the county. Jenkins confirmed at a news conference Sunday a third coronavirus-related death.

“This order is our best chance to flatten the curve here in Dallas County and save as many lives as possible,” Jenkins said. “I know there will be economic hardship and business closures with this order, and it makes me sick that we’re at this point.”

Jenkins said the county is heading to a point of no return if it does not act now.

“The goal of this order is never to exceed our hospital capacity and to minimize the catastrophic outcomes we are seeing in other countries because they waited too long,” Jenkins said.

All nonessential businesses will cease to operate at the business location. Employees can continue to work from home, Jenkins said. All essential businesses must enforce social distancing of 6 feet and implement screening procedures, Jenkins said.

Essential businesses include health care, government, retail or infrastructure businesses that provide vital services. Grocery and warehouse stores, gas stations and health care providers will remain open, Jenkins said.

Other services that will be allowed to operate include child care services, funeral homes, plumbers and legal services.

Restaurants and microbreweries, microdistilleries or wineries will continue to operate as takeout, delivery or drive-thru services, according to the order issued by Jenkins.

The order also includes a limit on toilet paper sales in response to its increased demand. Individuals can only buy up to 12 toilet paper rolls per purchase or one package per purchase.

All essential government services will continue to operate, Jenkins said. This includes Dallas Area Rapid Transit, he said.

All public and private gatherings occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, according to the order. The order does not prohibit gatherings of members of a household or living unit.

Places of worship cannot conduct services in person and must instead livestream using internet services, according to the order. There can only be 10 people in one place to record and livestream the service.

Jenkins said he is hopeful that the rest of the Metroplex will follow suit and issue a similar order. He said he urges Gov. Greg Abbott to reconsider issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order after he announced earlier Sunday that he would reserve the right to local officials.



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