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Dallas County disaster declaration, stay-at-home order extended in response to coronavirus

The county's current stay-at-home order will be extended until April 30, said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. with additional comments from Clay Jenkins. 

The Dallas County commissioners voted Friday to extend the local disaster declaration until May 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the extended declaration, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins plans to extend the stay-at-home order until April 30. 

The City of Dallas has also issued a similar stay-at-home order through April 30. 

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring the closure of nonessential businesses and asking people to stay home through the end of the month. 

Commissioners voted to extend the disaster declaration after a tense two-hour meeting punctuated by debates over hospital readiness, the cost of the coronavirus pandemic and how best to help the region’s most vulnerable.  

Commissioner John Wiley Price voted against extending the disaster declaration, saying some small businesses would be “decimated” because he doesn’t think the list of what’s deemed essential is fair.

Liquor stores are open as are pet groomers.

“A dog can get a haircut, but people in my community can’t?” Price wondered.

He said, “I see crowding and no distancing in regards to liquor stores. But, they’ve been deemed essential while I have people in my community who basically live hand to mouth, week to week, who are entrepreneurs but have not been giving the opportunity to do distancing business because it has not been deemed essential.”

Price was the lone no vote on the extension, saying he wanted more protections for small businesses.

“Everything that’s in [the stay-at-home order] is in there for the purpose of giving our healthcare workers the best chance of having the capacity to take care of people and not have the hospitals be overrun,” Jenkins said.

After the vote, Jenkins tweeted his thanks. 

Dallas County officials first declared a local disaster on March 12 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world and has infected more than 1,500 people so far in North Texas.

The county was among the first to issue stay-at-home orders, which closed all non-essential businesses. 

Commissioners on Friday also discussed the pop-up hospital at the Kay Bailey Convention Center, which officials said will be used as an overflow site if other hospitals reached capacity. 

Health officials estimate there are about 4,000 non-ICU beds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

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