Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, in a 6 p.m. press conference today (Monday, March 23), clarified portions of his “shelter in place” order that goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, specifically discussing who is included in and who is exempt from the order.

The order applies to people who living in and all businesses operating in Dallas County. Businesses deemed essential and thus exempt from the order must still comply with social distancing regulations intended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Jenkins said that while residents can move from one residence to another in or out of Dallas County, residents may not travel to go to work in an office in another county.

Healthcare is open but only for emergency services, not for elective exams or procedures.

Businesses selling food and anything in the food supply chain are essential businesses.

Schools are open only for distance learning only.

Businesses selling anything to make a home function, including plumbing, electrical, mowing and pool services, are allowed.

Financial institutions – depository lenders only – can open.

Laundry services can open.

Cemetery services are open with social distancing rules.

Child care businesses can open for essential businesses only.

Restaurants may continue window or take-out service only.

All public and private gatherings outside a residence are prohibited.

Religious and worship services may only be conducted via teleconferencing or other video services

Jenkins said he expects all surrounding counties to follow Dallas within days, but Tarrant County officials said they are not ready to expand their orders. Collin County will make an announcement on Tuesday that mirrors Dallas County shelter-in-place rules.

Companies that are open and not essential businesses could be fined up to $1,000 and, Jenkins said, could have their certificates of occupancy revoked.

Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, discussed hospital bed availability. Conservative figures show Dallas has enough hospital beds.

Jenkins said he’s working on worst case scenarios that includes converting hotel and motel rooms into hospital rooms as well as reopening abandoned hospitals including the previous Parkland Hospital on Harry Hines Boulevard.

– David Taffet