Richardson this week expanded the local disaster declaration that was Mayor Paul Voelker first signed March 18. The changes are intended to help contain and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
The ordinance, which extends through April 30, aligns with the Dallas County ordinance requiring all individuals to shelter in place at home. The definition of homes includes hotels, motels, shared rentals and similar facilities.
“We are taking steps to ensure we continue to responsibly approach this situation in a way that is consistent with the CDC, North Texas region and neighboring cities,” Voelker previously said. “The parameters of these safety precautions follow the advice of health professionals at all levels of government and I ask for everyone’s continued understanding and patience as we join the North Texas community in fighting the spread of this disease.”
Terms of the ordinance
People in Richardson are allowed to leave their residences only to operate what is deemed to be an essential business, provide essential government functions or to conduct essential activities. Essential businesses that are still allowed to operate must still comply with social distancing guidelines.
Any nonessential business is required to cease operating immediately. All businesses may continue to operate by having employees or contractors work at home. Private gatherings at home are not restricted, according to a presentation of the ordinance announced at Monday’s meeting. However, any number of people gathering outside a single housing or living unit are prohibited.
While outdoors, individuals are required to practice social distancing as “reasonably as possible.”
Religious services are permissible only through video and teleconferencing. Staff of religious organizations must be limited to 10 people in-person.
Finally, all elective medical, surgical and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in the city. The definition of “elective” will be determined by health care providers and medical professionals, a handout at the city council meeting states.
Only take-out, delivery and drive-through services are allowed at restaurants, microbreweries, micro-distilleries or wineries.
Bars, lounges, taverns, arcades and private clubs are closed. Organizations that serve high-risk populations are “strongly urged” to cancel gatherings.
Collin County stay-home order
In Collin County, residents have been ordered to stay home except for essential activities because of the coronavirus outbreak. The order went into place Tuesday, March 24, and will last seven days unless it’s renewed by the county’s Commissioners Court.
However, all businesses in the county are allowed to stay open during the order. Officials said this decision was made to keep local economies functioning. This is a major difference from Dallas County’s shelter-in-place order.
As of early Saturday morning, Dallas County has reported 367 cases of the coronavirus, and Collin County 87. Richardson has 13.
A Richardson man in his 60s who was found dead in his home was determined to have had COVID-19. He had no high-risk or chronic health conditions, officials said. It was the second case reported in Richardson.
City closures and cancellations
Richardson has modified, delayed or canceled a series of programs, projects and services scheduled from mid-March through April 20.
On its website, the city invites residents who have questions to contact the appropriate department or program.
Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road: All events are canceled. 972-744-4090, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive: All events scheduled through April 30 have been cancelled or postponed. 972-744-4650, email@example.com
Richardson Library, 900 Civic Center Drive: The library building is closed to the public, but curbside book drop-off is available. 972-744-4350, firstname.lastname@example.org
Richardson Municipal Court, 2100 E Campbell Road: Jury trials are postponed. The court facility and the customer service area are open, and courtroom hearings and bench trials are continuing. 972-744-4500, email@example.com
Parks and Recreation: Through April 30, all Parks and Recreation programs, classes, athletic leagues, trips, camps and events are suspended or canceled. All Richardson Senior Center programs and activities are also canceled. There will be no recreation center and civic center reservations or rentals. 972-744-4300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Other canceled events include:
- Richardson Realtors Workshop (April 2)
- Trash Bash (April 11)
- Richardson Neighborhood Leadership Workshop (April 21)’
- The annual spring Cottonwood Art Festival (May 2-3)
Richardson ISD announced Monday that all schools will remain closed indefinitely. All school and district meetings, events and activities are also canceled or postponed, according to an announcement.
During an emergency meeting Tuesday, the school board voted to pay all district employees through the rest of the school year. The board also voted to provide meals for students who need them while schools are closed.
The district will continue online lessons via the recently issued electronic devices for students in grades 3-8, as well as lessons on the website for all students in grades kindergarten through 12, the announcement states. All students in grades Pre-K through 12 will be able to access learning materials at RISD.org. Additional information about the online learning plan will be sent to parents.
Richardson ISD is also working out the logistics of continuing to provide meal services for at-risk students. Plans are already in place for spring break. Additional information on the continuation of the meal program is expected later this week.
Parents are reminded to ensure their child’s school has a current and accurate email address. The school district will primarily use email for all communications in the event of further updates.
Additionally, the health department has reiterated that no Richardson ISD students nor staff members are among the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County.
“It is with the utmost confidence that I tell you we are doing everything possible to reduce the amount of risk to students and staff,” Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a March 13 YouTube video. “As you know, their health is our highest priority.”
The superintendent previously asked the community to join her in behaving responsibly on social media and refraining from spreading rumors.
An email to the Richardson Pearce community said a network of community services is in desperate need of food and volunteers to help pack emergency bags of it. If you are interested or have questions, you can contact Robin Pampillonia-Hunt at 469-831-8044.
The RISD food pantry pickup will be at Carolyn Buckhair Elementary, 13900 Esparanza Road in Dallas on Tuesday, March 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. To drop off food, email email@example.com.
Other cancellations in Richardson ISD
SAT testing: The district will be working with the College Board to reschedule SAT testing that was set for March 14 at Richardson and Lake Highlands high schools.
Holiday Camp xPlore!: The event scheduled for the week of March 16-20 was canceled. Those who signed up will receive tuition refunds in 7 to 10 business days.
UIL: Effective March 16 through March 29, the UIL suspended all UIL games and events. Additional information is available on the UIL website.
The University of Texas at Dallas canceled classes from March 23-27. The school is conducting classes online from March 30 through the end of the semester. All campus events have been canceled, postponed or moved to an online-only format.