North Texas governments may need to collaborate on future coronavirus restrictions, Plano mayor says

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, seen here addressing the Plano Chamber of Commerce Feb. 6, has called for increased collaboration among North Texas governments addressing the coronavirus. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, seen here addressing the Plano Chamber of Commerce Feb. 6, has called for increased collaboration among North Texas governments addressing the coronavirus. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, seen here addressing the Plano Chamber of Commerce Feb. 6, has called for increased collaboration among North Texas governments addressing the coronavirus. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

A deluge of health recommendations, school closures and business restrictions have bombarded Plano residents with information as coronavirus continues its spread through the city.

Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said Wednesday he is worried governments, in their rapid and varied efforts to slow the virus, are adding to that confusion.

It’s been just over a week since Plano closed bars, gyms and movie theaters throughout the city and forbade dine-in services at restaurants. A couple days later, Gov. Greg Abbott imposed similar restrictions statewide.

On Tuesday, Collin County announced its own order requiring residents to stay at home “except for travel related to essential activities.” Collin County defines all businesses, jobs and workers as essential.

“For the city of Plano, it really does not change anything,” LaRosiliere said of the Collin County order. “It doesn’t change anything in terms of social distancing, social responsibility—to exercise caution and only be out if you absolutely have to.”


Governments could take additional actions to slow the spread of the virus in Plano. Like Dallas, northern suburbs like Plano could define “essential” business more narrowly, requiring more businesses to close and leaving fewer reasons for people to leave their homes.

But LaRosiliere said Plano would likely not consider escalating its restrictions this week.

These shelter-in-place policies were part of an urgent request from the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council to Abbott’s office over the weekend.

The group of 90 area hospitals asked the governor to impose a statewide shelter-in-place order, arguing that the number of coronavirus patients needing treatment in a few weeks could outnumber the number of Texas hospital beds under current social distancing restrictions alone.

Abbott said such a measure would not be appropriate for the entire state at the time. He left open the possibility that local governments could impose shelter-in-place orders themselves.

LaRosiliere said he hoped that the next round of orders would involve more collaboration between local North Texas governments so the policies and messaging are consistent.

“I think that in the upcoming days, it may require that we collectively do this, [that] we set more severe measures in place,” LaRosiliere said. “However, I think until the date is in front of us, we can make the decision at the appropriate time.”
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper in Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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