Plano nixes stay-at-home policy discussion in light of Texas governor's guidelines on essential activities

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order regarding the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic during a March 31 afternoon press conference. (Screenshot via livestream)
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order regarding the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic during a March 31 afternoon press conference. (Screenshot via livestream)

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order regarding the state's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic during a March 31 afternoon press conference. (Screenshot via livestream)

A dash to prepare a stay-at-home ordinance for the city of Plano was halted this week after the governor unveiled his own set of guidelines defining essential services.

The city of Plano canceled a council meeting that had been quickly scheduled for April 1 in an effort to bring the city’s coronavirus-related restrictions in line with those of nearby cities and counties.

“Since the governor issued his list of essential services, we are just going to follow the state directive,” city spokesperson Steve Stoler said.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order issued March 31 calls for Texas residents to “minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact” outside their own household.

The governor exempted essential services from this rule, which included health care, groceries, utilities, government, finances and child care for essential employees, among others.


This topic of which nonessential businesses to close was at the heart of a Plano City Council discussion earlier this week that was expected to continue through April 1 before the meeting was canceled.

Five of the council’s eight members on March 30 directed City Attorney Paige Mims to prepare a stay-at-home ordinance with language that was similar to ordinances adopted by Denton County and the cities of McKinney and Frisco.

The governor's order does not explicitly use "stay at home" language and opts instead for keeping social gatherings and in-person contact to a minimum. But the definitions Abbott established for essential services comprised most of the topics the city was discussing with council members, according to City Manager Mark Israelson.

“The message is consistent regardless of the terminology used to describe it by different levels of government,” Stoler said. “The safest thing to do during this health emergency is stay home as much as possible and minimize close contact with others.”

Daniel Houston



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