DALLAS – Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has issued a shelter-at-home order for the county starting at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23. It will last until at least April 3.
The order states, “all individuals currently living within Dallas County are ordered to shelter at their place of residence,” unless doing an “essential activity” (going to the grocery story or getting other necessary supplies, exercising while complying with social distancing, going to work, or caring for another family member or pet).
“All businesses operating within Dallas County, except Essential Businesses…are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the county,” the order added. All essential businesses must also comply with social distancing “to the greatest extent possible.”
The county defined essential businesses as: Essential Healthcare Operations (hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, etc.), Essential Government Functions (services provided by local governments), Essential Critical Infrastructure (operations from the 16 critical infrastructure sectors as identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency), Essential Retail (grocery strores, warehouse stores, liquor stores, gas stations, businesses that supply products for people to work from home, etc.), businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services for the economically disadvantanged, Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations (trash and recycling collection, processing, and disposal, funeral homes, plumbers, etc.), News Media, and Childcare Services.
“Public works construction, residential and commercial construction, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunications systems – including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services – financial institutions, defense and national security-related operations, essential manufacturing operations provided that they carry out those services or that work in compliance with social distancing requirements,” Jenkins explained.
Worship services have also been limited to video or teleconferencing. Churches must also limit their staff to 10 people or less on site when conducting their services.
DART will continue to run.
Read the full order below for a full list of essential businesses:
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released the following statement about the amended order from Dallas County:
“We are still working through the language of the county’s quickly evolving orders and discussing the best ways to enforce these orders citywide, but I support a stay-at-home approach to slow the spread of COVID-19. While this approach likely means our city will experience economic difficulties, our top priority is public health, and it’s vitally important that we take the steps necessary to save lives and prevent strain on our healthcare system.
“I am confident that regulations such as Dallas County’s most recent ones will help flatten the curve of COVID-19’s spread in Dallas, but this disease does not respect political boundaries. Therefore, I believe a statewide or regional approach, as opposed to a county by county or city by city approach, is the best way to defeat this pandemic and defeat it quickly.”
Jenkins said this shelter-at-home order is necessary for the county to help flatten the curve.
“This order is our best chance to flatten the curve 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 we are at this point.”
County officials also shared a table and graph that estimates the number of deaths and the date when hospitals become overloaded at certain instances.
It compares four scenarios: the estimated numbers if no action is taken, if there is a “Texas-style delay/social distancing” for three months, if there is a “California-style ‘shelter-in-place'” for three months, and if there is a “Wuhan-style lockdown” for three months.
These examples show the flattening the curve model that health officials are trying to achieve with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he would not issue a statewide shelter-at-home order at this time, instead leaving it up to local governments to decide.
RELATED: Coronavirus coverage
Jenkins reported Dallas County’s third coronavirus-related death on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths in Texas to 7. Tarrant County and Collin Couny have both reported one COVID-19 death.
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.)