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Rockwall County issues ‘stay-at-home’ order to be in effect through April 15

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Tuesday afternoon an official statement from Rockwall County Judge David Sweet was released putting into effect a ‘stay-at-home’ order effective for all Rockwall County residents which would go into effect at 11:59pm on March 24 until April 15, 2020.

As of the time of publication, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rockwall County. The city of Rowlett earlier this morning clarified that the two confirmed cases were both in the Dallas County portion of the city.

The order permits residents to leave for the purpose of purchasing necessary items like medicine and groceries and to care for sick relatives. Outside of those activities, residents are ordered to stay in their households.

There is no fine or confinement punishment outlined in the official order, however, the County Commissioners added a punishment of a maximum fine $1,000 and 180 days in confinement to the current standing emergency enforcement procedures already in place.

Businesses not deemed essential may continue to operate if they can work from home to abide by social distancing requirements.

Essential Healthcare Operations

According to the official order, they are outlined as:

  • hospitals
  • clinics
  • dentists
  • pharmacies
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • healthcare facilities
  • healthcare suppliers
  • mental health providers
  • substance abuse service providers
  • blood banks
  • medical research
  • laboratory services or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services
  • home-based and residential-based care for seniors

Healthcare also includes veterinary care and all health and welfare services provided to animals. All elective medical, dental, or cosmetic procedures are also ordered to be postponed until the order is lifted. Rockwall Health Hospital had previously halted all non-life-saving procedures and surgeries. Fitness and exercise gyms and other similar facilities are not listed as essential.

Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses

These include:

  • trash and recycling collection
  • processing and disposal
  • mail and shipping services
  • building cleaning
  • maintenance and security
  • warehouse/distribution and fulfillment
  • storage for essential businesses
  • funeral homes
  • crematorium and cemeteries
  • plumbers
  • mechanics
  • electricians
  • exterminators
  • legal or accounting services
  • stock brokers
  • realtors
  • financial advisors
  • title companies and insurance services
  • businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies needed to operate

Essential Retail, Production and Manufacturing Facilities

Retail businesses that are deemed necessary include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Food manufacturing
  • Food providers
  • Big-box stores
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Farmers’ markets that sell food products and household staples
  • Food cultivation, including farming, fishing and livestock
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food or goods directly to residences
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out
  • Schools and other entities that typically provide free services to students or member of the public on a pick-up and take away basis only (the restriction of delivery and carry out does not apply to cafes and restaurants located within hospital and medical facilities)
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers
  • Auto and bicycle repair and sales
  • Hardware stores
  • Any business that supplies products needed for people to work from home

All services provided to the local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public is also included in the listed essential businesses in the order.

Public works construction, residential and commercial construction and sales, airport operations, utilities, oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, internet, and telecommunication systems, financial institutions, defense and national-security related operations, essential manufacturing operations provided to carry out these services or work in compliance of six feet, to the extent possible are also deemed necessary in the order.

According to the order, Rockwall County residents may continue to get take-out, delivery or drive-thru services from restaurants, micro-breweries, micro-distilleries and wineries. Last week. Governor Greg Abbott issued a waiver that would allow alcohol to be delivered with food purchases.

Individuals who are in outdoor spaces must maintain social distancing of at least six feet from each other.

Individuals are prohibited to attend public or private gatherings of 10 or more people.

Religious and worship services may only be provided by video, audio and teleconference.

Nursing homes, retirement, and long-term care facilities are instructed to prohibit non-essential visitors from accessing their facilities unless to provide critical assistance or for end-of-life visitation.

The order does permit people to do outdoor activities, such as walking, biking, hiking or running, outdoors as long as social distancing requirements are maintained.

The end date of April 15 may be order may be lifted early or extended as the Commissioners feel necessary.

Tuesday evening, the city of Rockwall posted a video of Mayor Jim Pruitt explaining his views about the new order.

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