Dallas County judge announces stay-at-home order effective just before midnight March 23 for all residents

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins presents possible coronavirus case trends on March 22. (Screenshot from WFAA-TV)
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins presents possible coronavirus case trends on March 22. (Screenshot from WFAA-TV)

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins presents possible coronavirus case trends on March 22. (Screenshot from WFAA-TV)

Image description
This chart released by Dallas County on March 22 shows hospitalizations in Texas over time depending on which actions residents take to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said a shelter-in-place order would keep the number of hospitalizations below the number of available hospital beds. (Courtesy Dallas County)
Image description
This chart released by Dallas County on March 22 estimates the date that hospitals in Texas would become overloaded and the estimated number of deaths from the coronavirus based on different levels of action. (Courtesy Dallas County)
This is a developing story and will be updated.

Dallas County residents are ordered to shelter in their place of residence from 11:59 p.m. March 23 through April 3 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"This order is our best chance to flatten the curve here in Dallas County and save as many lives as possible," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said during a news conference March 22. "I know there will be economic hardship and business closures with this order, and it makes me sick that we are at this point."

Flattening the curve refers to minimizing the infection rate of the virus through similar shelter-in-place orders to avoid the inundation of hospitals, Jenkins said.

The order generally bars all public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of one's residence. Exceptions include essential business operations and government work. The order also stresses people to continue to maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others.


Essential functions include health care work, essential critical infrastructure work, and operations that support residences and other businesses. Providing essential retail services and providing aid to lower-income communities are also allowed, according to the order.

Religious gatherings are also ordered to be conducted only via video and teleconference. Bars, lounges, salons and other similar business are ordered to close. Restaurants may provide delivery and takeout services but must close their dining rooms.

Individuals should refrain from leaving their homes, unless for gathering groceries or essential medical supplies, according to the order. Working from home is permitted.

Jenkins' order applies only to residents who live in Dallas County. He said he is hoping this decision will influence some of the surrounding counties to take similar measures.

"There’s 2.7 million people in Dallas County, but there’s 7.6 million people in the metroplex,” Jenkins said. “This is going to spread across the state, and a month from now, ... nobody is going to be saying, ‘Thank God I was able to go to work for one extra two weeks.’"

Dallas County reported 36 additional cases of coronavirus on March 22, bringing the countywide total to 131. Statewide, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases totals more than 330, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

Gov. Greg Abbott took multiple measures March 22 designed to expand hospital staffing and capacity in the state but declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order—even as calls for such an action increased as the new coronavirus continued to spread across the state.

"What ... may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point of time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a March 22 Texas Tribune report.

Jenkins said during his news conference that he is encouraging the governor to make a statewide shelter-in-place order.

"I appreciate the difficult situation [the governor] is in, but I really believe it is imperative that this [order] is larger than Dallas County. I would implore him to reconsider."

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said during the county news conference that a statewide shelter-in-place order could prevent hundreds of thousands of cases.

“With the current social distancing, [there would be] about 430,000 deaths in Texas,” he said. “However, then with the shelter-in-place, [there would be] about 5,000 deaths in Texas.”
By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


MOST RECENT

SweetStop bakery holds grand opening in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.

Sonic Drive-In will open a location on Lake Forest Drive in McKinney. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Sonic Drive-In opens in McKinney, Koto Hibachi and Sushi now serving diners in Frisco: News from DFW

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In the last year, Whataburger launched a new, modern restaurant design and began offering curbside and delivery services for the first time amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the release. (Courtesy Elizabeth James for Whataburger)
Whataburger to celebrate 70th anniversary, unveil food truck, expand into 3 states

Nine more new Whataburger locations are planned by year's end, and 35 new restaurants are proposed for 2021.

The U.S. Census Bureau will halt its counting operation a month earlier than expected. (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)
U.S. Census Bureau to halt counting operation a month earlier than expected

The self-response deadline has moved up to Sept. 30.

A new Whataburger location is expected to open Aug. 17 at 3052 Golden Triangle Blvd., Fort Worth. (Courtesy Whataburger)
Whataburger coming to Northeast Fort Worth, upcoming events in Frisco: News from DFW

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Texas sales tax
Report: With boost in e-commerce, Texas sales tax receipts increased 4.3% in July

The loss of extra unemployment support could send numbers back down, however.

Jinbeh offers hibachi and sushi at its restaurants, all prepared fresh and, in the case of hibachi, in person. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Jinbeh keeps the focus on family at Lewisville, Frisco and Las Colinas restaurants

Because Jinbeh is a family-owned business, many members of the staff have become like family to owner Aya Matsuda over the years.

The Texas State Teachers Association has asked the state to prohibit in-person teaching until at least Sept. 8. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas State Teachers Association demands TEA prohibit in-person classes until Sept. 8

The statement was released after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton earlier this week said that local districts have the sole authority to close schools due to the ongoing pandemic.

Frisco residents can register for the free test beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 1 at Texas.curativeinc.com. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Free COVID-19 saliva testing site to open at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco

The saliva tests will be offered to all residents of North Texas, regardless of county or city of residence, though pre-registration is required.