DALLAS — The “safer at home” order that is in effect in Dallas County has been extended through April 30. The controversial decision was made Friday during a Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting.
The order encourages the public to stay at home, and it requires non-essential businesses to remain closed as the county continues to deal with an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases with community spread.
The signs of impact are clear across Dallas County. Many businesses are closed, and many people are out of work and at home.
Small business owner Sherri Doucette said, "It’s tough all the way around, and no one saw this coming."
Doucette is the founder of Litehouse Wellness. It’s an organization that promotes healing arts through yoga, meditation, and preventative health education. She said being out of work and away from clients isn’t easy.
”We’re in limbo,” Doucette explained. “We’re in limbo, and I’m just doing the best I can to navigate this.”
For many small businesses deemed non-essential, things are about to get tougher.
”Well, it’s definitely impacted my business,” said Toska Medlock Lee.
Medlock Lee owns a boutique marketing and communications agency called The Myriad Group. She is also making adjustments.
"I think that there could be some provisions made in some areas for small businesses. I tend to lend to the fact that we need to get this virus under control," Medlock Lee said.
Debating how soon some shops can get back to business continues to be a hot topic among Dallas County commissioners.
"We have small businesses that are getting ready to get a throat choke," Commissioner John Wiley Price said.
During Friday’s meeting, Price suggested county leaders look into amending the order to allow some non-essential businesses to operate sooner. He mentioned barbershops and beauty salons as an example, compared to liquor stores which remain open.
"I have people in my community who basically live hand to mouth, week to week, who are entrepreneurs, but have not been given the opportunity to do [social] distancing," Price said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he is trying to juggle the economic needs and survival of small businesses. He said the community has to be guided, right now, by the science around the coronavirus spread.
"First and foremost, we have to be concerned about people’s health,” Medlock Lee agreed.
It’s a tough situation. However, Medlock Lee and Doucette remain optimistic.
Doucette said, "If my business is going to take a hit to save lives, count me in.”
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