Dallas County has amended their Disaster Declaration to include the order for all individuals anywhere in Dallas County to shelter in place. This order affects everyone in Dallas County, and is effective 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23 through 11: 59 p.m., April 3.
During a press conference Sunday evening, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins stated that after consultations with medical experts, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council and people who prepare the North Texas Mass Critical Care plan, the decision was made to move Dallas County into a shelter at home order.
“This order is our best chance to flatten the curve here in Dallas County and save as many lives as possible,” said Judge Jenkins.
In addition to the measures spelled out in previous orders, the Shelter in Place order includes all individuals currently living within Dallas County are ordered to shelter at their place of residence.
All persons may leave their residences only for essential activities, or to provide or perform essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses.
All businesses operating within Dallas County, except essential businesses, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within the county. For clarity, businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e. working from home).
Essential business include essential retails such as grocery stores, food service provides, warehouse stores, gas stations and convenience stores, and retailers that sell food products and household staples. Other essential businesses include providers of basic needs to the economically disadvantaged population, essential services necessary to maintain essential operations of residences or other essential businesses, news media and childcare services for essential businesses only.
All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided in the order. Nothing in this order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
Engaging in outdoor activity such as walking, biking, hiking or running is still allowed, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet.
Dallas County held another press conference Monday night for further clarification.
“At this time there’s no requirement of proof that you are allowed to be outside of your residence because the order presumes the residents will adhere to their civic duty and follow the orders for the greater good of the community,” said Judge Jenkins.
Dr. Mark Casanova, President, Dallas County Medical Society spoke on the importance of social distancing and staying at home.
“We have been preparing for this dating back to 2005 through Dallas County Medical Society and our partners at the hospitals in North Texas to envision what might a pandemic outbreak look like in North Texas. Every rabbit hole that we explored always brought us to a similar recommendation and that similar recommendation in the various pathways was a stay at home order/shelter in place/safe at home,” said Dr. Casanova.
“Treating a viral illness and managing a pandemic while they seem very similar are in fact two different things,” he continued. “Physicians and nurses will treat the viral illness; we will care of those patients who are desperately in need. Elected leaders and public health officials are the ones who assist us and aid us in managing the pandemic. Right now we are waging battle with sticks at best, and we need swords. Our public officials, by making very difficult decisions they are faced with making provide us the armor and shield we need.”
“It’s been widely reported that when we look at ourselves here in North Texas; the data, the numbers that we’re assessing are really five to seven days behind the curve. So what we do is we look at places that are approximately five or seven days ahead of us and we asked ourselves, ‘Is this what we’re going to look like at that period of time?’ We have the space,” he continued.
The Rowlett City Council mirrored this order and extended it so that it now includes the Rockwall County portion of Rowlett. This order from the city of Rowlett goes into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. for Rockwall County businesses and residents only.
According to Dallas County, as of March 23 there are 155 COVID-19 cases and four deaths.
According to the city of Rowlett’s COVID-19 page, as of 5 p.m., March 23 the number of COVID-19 cases for Rowlett is two, both in Dallas County.