Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said he understands a lot of people are confused because of the different orders that have come from the president, from the governor, from local counties and from cities as part of an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“My best way to simplify the message for all residents is just follow a stay at home approach, other than essential travel,” Cheney said. “There's just no reason to make any trips to any place of business unless it's essential.”
The Frisco mayor explained essential travel can include things such as trips to a grocery store or a pharmacy.
Collin County issued a stay-at-home order on March 24 that takes effect immediately and lasts for seven days. The order states that all people are ordered to stay home, except for travel related to essential activities.
During a March 24 news conference, Collin County Judge Chris Hill said all businesses, jobs and workers are essential to the financial health and well-being of the local economy. Therefore, he said, they are essential to the financial health and well-being of Collin County residents.
Cheney, who also spoke at the Collin County news conference, said the county intentionally did not get into the nuances of defining what is and is not essential business. He said Collin County is calling on its residents to travel only for essential purposes.
“Meaning that—in theory—nonessential business should not be open in Collin County, because—in theory—there should be no customers if the residents were following the order,” Cheney said.
The Denton County order will also be in effect for seven days beginning at 11:59 p.m. March 25.
Under that order, residents are mandated to stay at home except to perform specific essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services.
The order lists essential businesses as including healthcare operations, government functions, education, critical infrastructure, essential retail, providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, services necessary to maintain essential operations of residences or other essential businesses, news media and childcare services.
“Denton County took the approach of stating very clearly that there is a difference between essential and nonessential,” Cheney said. “So it’s a different approach, I believe, to try to come to similar outcomes.”
While each county order is currently slated to last for seven days, Frisco City Council extended its emergency declaration on March 20 through April 8. Cheney said officials are taking things day by day, and considering how much “the world has changed since last Tuesday,” it is likely too early to say whether the county orders will be extended.
“We're all going to err on the side of caution,” Cheney said. “If we get to next week and it needs to continue to be extended, then I expect it will be.”
The Frisco mayor said he believes the orders from Collin and Denton counties are “more similar than they are different” and stressed that residents need to pay attention to the orders from the counties that apply to them.
“We can't state it enough that during this order for the next week, it's a strict stay-at-home policy,” Cheney said.