Dallas County judge clarifies shelter-in-place order, condemns businesses that violate it

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced April 2 new provisions within the shelter-in-place order meant to stem the rapid increase of coronavirus cases. (Screenshot courtesy FOX 4 News)
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced April 2 new provisions within the shelter-in-place order meant to stem the rapid increase of coronavirus cases. (Screenshot courtesy FOX 4 News)

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced April 2 new provisions within the shelter-in-place order meant to stem the rapid increase of coronavirus cases. (Screenshot courtesy FOX 4 News)

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is clarifying aspects of the shelter-in-place order while also calling out entities that are ignoring the directive.

Employees who work for essential businesses but have the capability to work from home must now do so, Jenkins said at a Thursday news conference. This is intended to curb the number of new coronavirus cases, which totaled 831 in the county as of April 2.

“This provision is to prevent placing extra burden on our health care system,” Jenkins said.

There have been 39 confirmed cases and two deaths at various senior living facilities across Dallas County. Five patients are residents of the Reserve at Richardson.

Jenkins noted that unlike the statewide executive order signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on March 31, Dallas County’s orders prohibit in-person church gatherings of any size.


“It’s a rare situation that at a time with this much uncertainty that it’s not the best thing for us to come together to support one another and to worship together,” he said. “In this rare situation—as my minister friend said—the shepherd’s first obligation is to protect the flock.”

He said local church leaders are holding worship services virtually, by telephone, and via drive-thrus and drive-ins.

“They are finding ingenious ways to feed the flock and take care of people,” he said.

Under the order, the county now is capping late fees for rental properties at $15 per month, Jenkins said. He also clarified the county’s toilet paper limitation restrictions, noting that the 12 rolls per purchase rule does not apply to essential businesses.

Jenkins wrapped up the conference by condemning craft supply store Hobby Lobby for refusing to follow the shelter-in-place order. He said that when staff went to prepare a cease and desist letter, they discovered other municipalities reporting similar illegal activity by the company.

“In Dallas County, the government and 99.9% of the business community puts public health over profits,” he said. “Law enforcement agencies will ensure you abide by control orders.”

Hobby Lobby was not immediately available for comment.

In an April 2 tweet, the judge asked the public to help enforce the order by reporting any businesses in violation.



Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct an error related to the number of cases at Monticello West in the Park Cities.
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.