DATE AMENDED ORDER ISSUED: March 21, 2020
WHEREAS, pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 418.108, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency on March 12, 2020, due to a novel coronavirus now designated SARS-CoV2 which causes the disease COVID-19; and,
WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, Judge Jenkins issued an Order in furtherance of his authority to protect the safety and welfare of the public by slowing the spread of the virus; and,
WHEREAS, the on-going evaluation of circumstances related to the virus and the updated recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and the Texas Department of State Health Services warrant the March 12, 2020 Order of County Judge Clay Jenkins to be amended;
WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, President Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people’s interactions, including that Americans should avoid groups of more than 10 people;
WHEREAS, on March 19, 2020, the Dallas County Commissioners Court issued an Order of Continuance of Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency that affirmed the activation of the Dallas County Emergency Management Plan and extends the Declaration of Local Disaster until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020, unless rescinded by order of the Commissioners Court.
THEREFORE, the March 12, 2020, Order of County Judge Clay Jenkins is hereby AMENDED as follows:
Summary: The virus that causes 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is easily transmitted through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to protect the ability of public and private health care providers to handle the influx of new patients and safeguard public health and safety. Because of the risk of the rapid spread of the virus, and the need to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, this Order prohibits community gatherings, as defined by Section 3 herein, of 50 persons or more anywhere in Dallas County beginning at 10:00 a.m. on March 20, 2020, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020. Additionally, this Order prohibits social gatherings, as defined by Section 3 herein, of 10 persons or more anywhere in Dallas County beginning at 10:00 a.m. on March 20, 2020, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020. For gatherings of less than 10 persons, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority strongly recommends following the social distancing protocols attached to this Order. Additionally, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority urges in the strongest terms possible all high-risk individuals, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancel, reschedule, or not attend any event.
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE
SECTION 418.108, DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE CLAY JENKINS ORDERS:
Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 21, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020:
(a) Public or private Recreational Gatherings and Community Gatherings (as defined in Section 3 below) are prohibited anywhere in Dallas County.
(b) Restaurants with or without drive-in or drive-through services and microbreweries, micro-distilleries, or wineries may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law.
(c) Bars, lounges, taverns, private clubs, arcades, bowling alleys, theaters, gyms, fitness centers, gymnastics studios, and martial arts studios shall close.
(d) Massage parlors, nail salons, hair salons, barber shops, beauty salons, hair removal services, spas, tattoo and piercing parlors, and all other non-medical, personal care services that cannot be provided while maintaining six feet of distance shall close.
(e) Dallas County Tax Offices and passport offices shall close for in-person services.
(f) All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Dallas County. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed “elective” by assessing which
procedures can be postponed or cancelled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for redirection of resources to COVID-19 response.
- In addition, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services (“Health Authority”) strongly urge high-risk individuals to cancel, reschedule, and not attend all gatherings until further notice. These recommendations are based on the social distancing practices attached to this Order as well as the “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission” issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). The Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority urge people to not attend non-essential gatherings during the duration of this Order in order to help slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- For purposes of this Order, a “Community Gathering” is any indoor or outdoor event or convening, subject to the exceptions and clarifications below, that brings together or is likely to bring together fifty (50) or more persons within six feet of one another for extended periods at the same time in a single room or other single confined or enclosed space, such as an auditorium, theatre, stadium (indoor or outdoor), arena or event center, meeting hall, conference center, large cafeteria. An outdoor “Community Gathering” under this Order is limited to events in confined outdoor spaces, which means an outdoor space that (i) is enclosed by a fence, physical barrier, or other structure and (ii) where people are present and they are within six feet of one another for extended periods. For clarity, community gatherings include, but are not limited to, weddings, religious services, funerals, and other gatherings.
- For the purposes of the Order, a “Recreational Gathering” is any indoor or outdoor event or convening that is primarily social or recreational in nature, subject to the exceptions and clarifications below, that brings together or is likely to bring together ten (10) or more persons at the same time in a single room or other single confined or enclosed space. For clarity, social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, backyard barbecues, social events, sporting events, and other gatherings. Private facilities, such as county clubs, may still operate their outdoor facilities, such as golf or tennis courts, but must limit indoor activities, such as their card rooms and similar amenities to 10 people or less. To the extent individuals are using shared outdoor spaces, such as public parks or trails, they must maintain at least six feet of space from any other person at all times.
- This Order does not prohibit gatherings of people in multiple, separate enclosed spaces in a single building such as school classrooms, residential buildings, or hotels, so long as 50 people are not present in any single space at the same time. This Order also does not prohibit the use of enclosed spaces where 50 or more people may be present at different times during the day, so long as 50 or more people are not present in the space at the same time. For example, residential buildings may continue to operate their common facilities, such as laundry facilities, so long as 50 or more people are not present at the same time. For any gathering covered by this subsection, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority strongly encourage compliance with the attached Recommendations, including social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and tissues, and increasing cleaning of commonly and frequently touched services.
- This Order does not apply to the following critical facilities, so long as visitors are generally not within six feet of one another for extended periods:
- (i) critical infrastructure, including airport facilities and operations, bus stations, transit, and transit facilities;
- (ii) government buildings providing essential services;
iii. (iii) schools or institutes of higher learning;
- (iv) banks, financial institutions, and credit unions;
- (iv) office buildings, so long as employers take all steps reasonably possible to implement social distancing protocols;
- (v) grocery stores and pharmacies;
vii. (vi) hospitals and medical offices and facilities, including cafes and restaurants located within these facilities; and
viii. (vii) Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
For purposes of this Order, “grocery stores” includes warehouse stores, big-box stores, bodegas, gas stations, and farmers’ markets that sell food products and household staples.
In the settings described in Section (3)(d), the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Dallas County Health Authority strongly encourage compliance with the attached Recommendations, including social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and tissues, and increasing cleaning of commonly and frequently touched services.
- Our community’s critical infrastructure, which includes communications, emergency services, energy, transportation systems, and water and wastewater systems, are instructed by this order to continue operating and encouraged to implement screening precautions to protect employees.
- Grocery stores, supermarkets, warehouse stores, hospitals, and medical facilities are experiencing high levels of demand for a large number of products, requiring more deliveries from manufacturers and distribution centers to serve their customers. A number of Texas cities and local associations have implemented restrictions on delivery hours to stores to mitigate truck noise and traffic. Due to the need to deliver products as quickly and efficiently as possible during this critical timeframe, this Order hereby suspends all delivery hour restrictions for transport to or from any entity involved in the selling or distribution of food products, medicine, or medical supplies in Dallas County for the next 60 days.
- Due to increased demand for bath or toilet tissue resulting from stock up buying and individuals who purchase for resale, a mandatory limit on toilet paper sales is instituted until the supply chain meets the demand or two weeks, whichever comes first. All sales of bath or toilet tissue occurring in Dallas County are limited to the greater of: (a) twelve (12) rolls per purchase or (b) one (1) package per purchase.
- Due to the public health emergency, the Office of the Dallas County Judge hereby advises the Dallas County Justices of the Peace to suspend eviction hearings and writs of possession for at least the next 60 days to prevent renters from being displaced.
- If someone in a household has tested positive for coronavirus, the household is ordered to isolate at home. Members of the household cannot go to work, school, or any other community function.
- Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed by this order to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.
- Public and private schools and institutions of higher education are instructed by this order to provide a safety plan to Dallas County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 72 hours before students return to a classroom settings.
- Additionally, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority instructs all employees to remain at home if sick. Employees of private businesses and nonprofits with six or more employees in the City of Dallas can use their paid sick leave when they are sick or to care for sick family members.
- This Order shall be effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020, or until it is either rescinded, superseded, or amended pursuant to applicable law.
- The County of Dallas must promptly provide copies of this Order by posting on the Dallas County Health and Human Services website. In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED
DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE