Dallas County authorities held a press conference Sunday evening to go over some revisions made to the Stay Home Stay Safe order.
Some changes include allowing non-essential businesses to do the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of the business's inventory, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, or for related functions.
Changes also include clarifying essential travel, which is for any of the following purposes: travel related to the provision of or access to essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses, essential critical infrastructure, and minimum basic operation.
This also includes travel to care for the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons; travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services; travel to return to a place of residence from outside the jurisdiction; travel required by law enforcement or court order; travel by church staff or clergy for the purpose of production of remote delivery of religious services and other ministries requiring travel; travel related to attending a funeral service; or travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the county.
Safety provisions for contractors were added to the order, which classified construction for public works, residential, commercial, and schools as critical infrastructure. Elective additions and maintenance are prohibited.
All employers involved in construction activity must follow the requirements set forth in the COVID-19 safety recommendations issued by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition.
Prohibition on price gouging was also added to the order.
During Sunday’s press conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins went over the order regarding long-term care facilities following two COVID-19 clusters at long-term care facilities. These changes went into effect immediately.
“All staff from all levels of care or any job description within the facility must be notified immediately of the COVID-19 diagnosis in residents. This notification shall be done in staff meetings by phone, text or email. This complete notification must be done and must be reported, and proven to be done as soon as possible but within six waking hours to Dallas County Health and Human Services,” Jenkins said.
This applies to all patients who are mentally competent, and family members and responsible parties they know of. The facilities are all closed to new admissions.
Jenkins said they don’t know how the virus is spreading; whether it’s the residents or the employees but what they do know from other U.S. cities and other countries that when it gets into the nursing homes it spreads rapidly.
“You’ll get into a situation where virtually everyone there has a very high chance of getting it,” he said.
Jenkins also mentioned that basketball goals will start coming down, and there will be some ticket enforcement happening for those not following social distancing practices.
“You’ll see us move from a posture of friendliness, and we’ll always be friendly, we have great officers here. You will see some ticketing enforcement happen in situations like that. And you’ll just see us have to continue to ramp up,” he said.
With reports of area trails and parks being crowded and people not adhering to the social distancing recommendations of six feet apart, Jenkins said parks and trails may face closure.
“We don’t want to shut down parks, but public health comes before amenities,” he said.
As of March 30, Dallas County Health and Human Services has reported 549 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths in Dallas County – three cases in Balch Springs and 15 in Mesquite.