DALLAS – The local disaster declaration for Dallas County has been amended to include the closure of more businesses to help stop the spread of COVID-19. It also places a limit on the sale of toilet paper.
The county is now limiting the sale of toilet paper to 12 rolls per purchase, or if the package has more than 12 rolls, you can only buy that one package.
Starting at midnight Saturday, massage parlors, salons, barber shops, tattoo and piercing parlors, and all other “non-medical, personal care services that cannot be provided while maintaining six foot distance,” are ordered to close.
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The new declaration also states that “all elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also said that people will be ticketed if they don’t adhere to social distancing in outdoor spaces, like when on The Katy Trail or a pickup basketball game.
Jenkins said the increased community spread is part of the reason for these increased restrictions.
He added that more tests will reveal more people having coronavirus, but the restrictions will limit exposure.
It’s been a life-changing week for many in Dallas County.
Parts of Dallas look like a ghost town, with restaurants being limited to to-go orders only, and bars, gyms, and theaters all closed.
The added restrictions come after the latest positive COVID-19 report of 21 confirmed cases on Saturday, bringing the county total to 95.
“Over 40 percent of our total cases have no known travel history outside of Texas or close contact to a known COVID case,” said Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Jenkins said the 40 percent community spread played a role in the added restrictions.
County leaders are also telling doctors and dentists to no longer perform elective health appointments.
Something like teeth whitenings and other procedures deemed not essential during the pandemic.
Saturday, officials in neighboring Tarrant County made a similar order, closing malls, salons, barber shops, and tattoo shops.
Jenkins said that in order to flatten the curve, all counties have to be on the same page.
“If a county of a million people is on the sidelines, I am not picking on anyone whatsoever, if they are on the sidelines, it makes it really hard, Tarrant County has stepped up and we need all of the counties to step up. We can flatten the curve together and, but it takes all of us,” he said.
Jenkins said he recognizes the financial impact these restrictions will have on the local economy, but doesn’t see any order he has made as being not within reason.
He said it takes everyone doing their part to lower the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s not a right or left issue, it’s a scientific issue. The deciders of what we need to do are the scientists in the room at CDC, the scientist at NIH, Phil Huang and your public health authority,” he added.
When it comes to church services.
The order states community gatherings are restricted to no more than 50 people.
Earlier on Saturday, Dallas opened a COVID-19 testing site outside the American Airlines Center. It allows for people who meet certain criteria to be take part in drive-thru testing.
Coronavirus health tips
While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve. Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)