During Tuesday night’s Rowlett City Council meeting the council went over the city’s efforts against the COVID-19 threat and what additional closures and measures are being taken since Monday’s town hall meeting.
Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Ed Balderas updated the council on the number of Dallas County COVID-19 cases that have been confirmed.
On Monday, Dallas County reported an additional nine positive COVID-19 cases, five new cases of likely community spread. The total reported by Dallas County is at 28 (as of Tuesday), but four of those cases are out-of-county residents and will not be reflected in the Dallas County case counts posted on the Dallas County Health and Human Services website, according to Judge Clay Jenkins’ Office.
As of Tuesday night, Balderas reported there are no cases in Rockwall County and no persons in Rowlett have officially been reported positive with COVID-19 or being monitored. If there’s a positive case in Rowlett the public will be notified.
City Manager Brian Funderburk spoke on additional measures the city is taking to prevent the spread on top of what was already being noted in Monday night’s town hall meeting.
He stated the city is canceling all city events going into April, including board and commission meetings. Some events will be postponed or rescheduled, and the city will release more information later.
“Due to the impact that this will have to our citizens’ pocketbooks, we are going to suspend the practice of disconnecting customers for nonpayment. This is the kind of emergency you do not want people to be without the basics, which include water,” Funderburk said. “This will be for a period of time, which could end up being one to two months, but right now this is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Because the library has closed, they will also suspend late fees for library materials that have been checked out, this will also apply to late fees on water bills during the disaster declaration.
Kids Kingdom will be closed, but parks and trails are still open. Funderburk said portable toilets in four parks will be removed because they do not have hand washing facilities, but parks with permanent restroom facilities will remain open for the time being.
The city will continue to hold council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, but city staff is exploring the technology involved in being able to do those meetings through teleconference.
Funderburk also noted that on Friday, the current order – which was set for seven days – is set to expire at 11 a.m. so the council will meet earlier that morning to consider extending that order.
“Right now there’s a really good chance that we will be extending it, given what we know and given what we are hearing from the federal government and the state government as well,” he said.
Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian clarified that bars, lounges and taverns are closed; restaurants are limited to curbside take-out or drive-thru, but gathering places such as auditoriums, theaters, stadiums, gyms, meeting halls, large cafeterias or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space can remain open. They’re just limited to less than 50 people and those gathered should practice social distancing.
Full details of the Disaster Declaration for Public Health Emergency and its amendment can be found at Rowlett.com/COVID-19.