5 updates Richardson residents should know about the city’s response to COVID-19

Richardson City Council ratified Mayor Paul Voelker's disaster declaration at a March 23 meeting. (Courtesy Citizens Information Television)
Richardson City Council ratified Mayor Paul Voelker's disaster declaration at a March 23 meeting. (Courtesy Citizens Information Television)

Richardson City Council ratified Mayor Paul Voelker's disaster declaration at a March 23 meeting. (Courtesy Citizens Information Television)

A shelter in place order ratified by Richardson City Council on March 23 is in place until April 30; however, some aspects of the order have been superseded by government entities higher on the chain of authority. Here’s a breakdown of adjustments made over the past two weeks, according to an update from Deputy City Manager Don Magner at the April 6 Richardson City Council meeting.

The city can no longer enforce parts of its original order

Certain aspects of the shelter-in-place order approved by City Council on March 23 have been nullified by the executive order signed by Gov. Greg Abbott last week, Magner said.

Church services: The city will no longer enforce an all-out ban on in-person religious gatherings, Magner said. The governor’s order designates religious services as essential; however, it requires that all services be held virtually when possible. If there is a religious service that cannot be held virtually, the governor allows congregants to gather so long as they observe social distancing. Certain congregations have implemented drive-thru communion services as well as drive-in church services. Those alternatives will be allowed to continue, Magner said.

Toilet paper purchases: The city had formerly implemented a 12 rolls per purchase limitation on toilet paper. This is not included in the governor’s order, so it can no longer be enforced, Magner said.

Restrictions on essential businesses: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has added rules and restrictions to essential businesses that go above and beyond what the governor’s order includes, Magner said. None of these added restrictions will be enforced in the city of Richardson, Magner added.

Trash pickup reduced to once per week; recycling service suspended

Effective April 9, all residential trash in Richardson will be picked up only once per week and recycling service will be temporarily suspended, Magner said. Trash collection will now occur on a resident’s designated recycling pickup day.

The recycling dropoff center at 101 N. Cottonwood Drive will remain open, Magner said. The city is also adding a second dropoff location at 1200 Columbia Drive. Both facilities will be open from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Brush and bulky item collection service will continue on its once-per-week schedule.

All of these shifts are temporary and are meant to reduce the burden on city staff, Magner said.

City services now available in a pop-up service center

In an effort to protect city employees and citizens, city departments have been relocated from their designated offices into a popup customer service center in the Grand Hall of City Hall. The center will include personnel from city departments, including building inspection, community services, development services, capital projects, parks and recreation and more. Meetings with non-city employees that cannot be held virtually will take place in the east or west conference rooms just off of the Grand Hall, Magner said.

Most parks and golf courses remain open

With the exception of the Inclusive Playground and the Bush Central Barkway, most open space areas, trails, parks and golf courses remain open in Richardson. However, restrooms and water fountains in parks are closed.

While the city has not officially closed playgrounds, their use is discouraged, Magner said.

“If [residents] are using playgrounds, we are highly encouraging them to use social distancing and to take all the disinfecting steps that would be prudent for their families,” he said.

Sherrill Park Golf Course remains open but with modified services, Magner said. Marshals are patrolling the area to enforce social distancing, and only one adult is allowed per cart. The pavilion is closed, and all tournaments have been canceled.

Some city projects put on hold

City projects that were underway have either slowed or stopped completely due to COVID-19, Magner said. He referenced specifically the fourth phase of construction at the Public Safety Complex as well as the construction of Fire Station No. 3.

Contractors are reporting skeletal workforces, making it difficult to keep projects on track, he said.

Other projects scheduled to start have been put on pause. Without a big picture view of how COVID-19 might affect revenue, it would be fiscally irresponsible to launch new projects, he said.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit was also working on a bus service study to inform planning for the future revamped Arapaho Center Station in Richardson’s Innovation Quarter. This study has been postponed indefinitely, Magner said. This will inevitably delay plans to develop the area surrounding the station, Magner said.

“We are going to need that data from DART, so that is going to impact our timeline and schedule,” he said.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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