DALLAS, Texas — During a press conference on Sunday night, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a county-wide shelter-in-place order to combat the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus.
The "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order will begin on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. and will continue until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, unless otherwise amended or extended.
The announcement was made moments after Texas Governor Greg Abbott said a state-wide shelter-in-place order would not be issued — citing more than 200, of 254, Texas counties who remain without positive COVID-19 cases. Instead, Abbott left that decision to local county governments pending review of the state's current restrictions and their effectiveness.
The move is the most restrictive by a county government in Texas, to date, but is reflective of many issued in other hard-hit COVID-19 states, such as California.
The order requires individuals currently living in Dallas County to shelter at their place of residence unless performing an essential activity such as, and among other things, going to the grocery store, receiving essential medical care, and outdoor exercise under social-distancing guidelines.
As of Sunday night, Dallas County was reporting 131 positive cases of COVID-19 and two COVID-19 related deaths, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
A summary of the order and a complete copy are provided below:
Amended Order - Stay Home Stay Safe
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 23, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020:
- All individuals currently living within Dallas County are ordered to shelter at their place of residence. For the purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their 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 as defined in Section 2.
- All businesses operating within Dallas County, except Essential Businesses as defined in below in Section 2, 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). To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guidelines attached, including maintaining six foot social distancing for both employees and the general public.
- All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided herein. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit.
- 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.
- Religious and worship services may only be provided by video and teleconference. Religious institutions must limit in-person staff to ten (10) people or less when preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals must follow the Social Distancing Guidelines including the six foot social distancing.
- 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.