April 7, 2020 — Denton County Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to extend the existing Executive Order and Disaster Declaration through April 30, 2020, to match the time frame in Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order.
The county order, issued by Denton County Judge Andy Eads on March 24 and ratified by the Commissioners Court in an emergency meeting on March 27, includes a Stay at Home mandate and the continued closure of non-essential businesses.
The Court will review the order again during their next regular meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, to consider adjustments if the situation should warrant.
“The extension of the stay at home mandate in Denton County was intended to give our residents the full scope of what health officials are recommending to continue to flatten the curve in our area,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We are focused on the health and wellbeing of all residents and feel this extension is necessary to ensure our medical facilities can handle the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“With more than 330 cases in Denton County and growing daily, we believe community spread is endemic within our region. We realize this decision has a major impact on our businesses and we already are making plans to assist in the recovery of our business community once this pandemic comes to an end.”
Denton County Public Health officials have confirmed a total of 337 cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and seven deaths related to COVID-19 in Denton County as of Monday evening. The new executive order is effective beginning at 11:59 p.m. on April 7, 2020 through April 30, 2020. A copy of the declaration is available at https://dentoncounty.gov.
The order stipulates that:
- All individuals currently living within Denton County are ordered to STAY AT HOME or their current place of residence. For the purposes of this Order, residences include hotels, motels, shared rentals, and similar facilities. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably as possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person when they are outside their residence. All persons may leave their residences only for Essential Activities within Denton County (travel outside of Denton County is not prohibited), provide or perform Essential Governmental Functions, or operate Essential Businesses, all activities as defined and authorized in Section 2.
- All businesses operating within Denton County, except Essential Businesses as defined below in Section 2b, are required to cease all activities at facilities located within Denton County. To the greatest extent possible, all Essential Businesses shall comply with the Social Distancing Guideline set forth by the CDC, including maintaining six-foot social distancing for both employees and the general public. All golf courses in Denton County shall close as approved by Denton County Commissioners Court and in compliance with the Governor’s order.
- All public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except as otherwise provided herein. Nothing in this Order prohibits the gathering of members of a household or living unit (an apartment or house for use by one family).
- Restaurants and beverage bars with or without drive-in or drive-through services and microbreweries, micro-distilleries, or wineries may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-through services as allowed by law.
- Worship Services. Religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship are permitted if they cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, so long as Social Distancing is maintained, and existing guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are followed. Religious services held outdoors whereby individuals remain in their vehicles are strongly encouraged.
- All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Denton County. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed “elective” by assessing which procedures can be postponed or canceled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for the redirection of resources to COVID-19 response.
For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “Essential Activities” or “Essential Services”:
- To engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members including pets and livestock (for example, obtaining medical supplies or medication, food, visiting a health care professional, caring for pets or livestock, or obtaining supplies required to work from home).
- To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others (for example, food, pet supply, and any other essential household consumer products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
- To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet, except as family units (for example, walking, biking, hiking, or running). The use of public access playground equipment is prohibited.
- To perform work for an Essential Business or to carry out activities permitted explicitly in this Order.
- To care for a family member or pet in another household.
Essential Businesses are identified by the National Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), Memorandum of Essential Critical Infrastructure document version 2.0 and Essential Services are listed by the Texas Division of Emergency Management at www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices.
Under the order, Texas Commissioned Peace Officers are hereby authorized to enforce this Order. A violation of this Order may be punishable through criminal or civil enforcement. A violation of this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, which is a Class C misdemeanor. Violators of the Order will be issued a citation. The citation will contain written notice of the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate of this state, the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged.
Commissioners Court also unanimously approved a proclamation signed by Judge Eads last week declaring April 10, 2020, as a Day of Prayer in Denton County. The proclamation can be seen here: https://dentoncounty.gov/-/media/PDFs/Denton-County-Day-of-Prayer.pdf.
“We need to come together as a community and support one another,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell. “This Day of Prayer in Denton County provides an opportunity for everyone to take a moment to be thankful for all they have and to keep those in harm’s way in their thoughts and prayers.”
Judge Eads agreed: “We must set aside our differences and pull together as one. We are all experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime situation that has affected each of us – whether through illness, loss of jobs, business challenges or even mental anguish. Together, we can get through this. We are Denton County Strong.”
Information regarding COVID-19 can be found at CDC.gov/COVID19 and DentonCounty.gov/COVID19