coronavirus

Collin County Judge Issues ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ Measures, Businesses to Remain Open

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People in Collin County are being asked to stay at home Tuesday in a "Stay Home, Work Safe" order that is keeping businesses open.

"All persons in Collin County are hereby ordered to stay home, except for travel related to essential activities. Entertainment activities are not considered essential activities," the order said.

Collin County Judge Chris Hill went on to say, however, that, "To protect the financial well-being and health of our Collin County economy, it is critical that we keep people at work."

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Hill said that if businesses are able to stay open while staying within the governor's guidelines of no more than 10 people, then they should stay open for business.

People in Collin County are being told to stay at home Tuesday in a stay-at-home order that mirrors those of Texas’ largest metro areas.

"All businesses and all employers are ordered to prevent the spread in their workplace, to increase social distancing measures. Where that is not possible, extreme care should be taken to reduce the risk of transmitting germs," Hill said.

"All businesses, all jobs and all workers are essential to the financial health of our local economy and therefore they are essential to the financial health and well being of our Collin County citizens," Hill said. "Persons who are employed need to stay employed. Persons who lack employment, need to gain employment. Businesses that are able to remain open need to remain open, however, we do expect all persons, whether employees, business owners or customers, we are all in this together and we must all take necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community."

The seven-day order takes effect immediately.

The business community appears to have mixed reaction to the county’s order.

“I would love to be open but I don’t think we’re going to have any customers,” said Dorie Helsley, owner of Cotton Hearts women’s clothing store.  “I don’t think my business is essential.”

Lone Star Wine Cellars has been stepping up cleaning to stay open for business.

Workers are required to wear gloves.

The wine cellar is also offering virtual concerts on its Facebook page.

“Business is essential to the livelihood of our neighborhood, of our community, of our state and so we’re welcoming that [stay home, work safe order],” said owner Becky Ross.

Employees who feel their employer is violating the order are urged to call the county.

Violators could face fines or jail time.

There are a total of 45 cases of COVID-19 in Collin County as of Tuesday morning, Collin County Health Services said.

"We are all in this together. We must all take necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community," Hill said.

Dallas County’s shelter in place order will go into effect late Monday night. As of Monday, Dallas County is the only County in the state to issue such an order. However, that could soon change. On Monday afternoon, 17 city mayors and the county judge met to work on the language of a shelter-in-place order for Collin County.

On Monday afternoon, 17 city mayors and the county judge met to work on the language of a Collin County's order.

“We firmly believe that being in unison, in concert with one another is the only way to have an effective shelter in place policy,” said McKinney Mayor George Fuller.

Fuller told NBC 5 the order will closely mirror Dallas County’s order but will possibly also include requiring essential businesses that may remain open to provide sanitizing stations for people going inside.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins answered questions Monday to clarify what is and isn’t prohibited after the county’s shelter-in-place order goes into effect.

Fuller said the decision was tough and he knows it will further impact businesses in Collin County, but there is a lag in testing so they're looking to what others around the world are doing and says acting quickly and in unison is important.

"That data to us tells us acting sooner rather than later is very important. I think if we were to wait two to three weeks for the data what it will tell us is we should've done what we're doing now two to three weeks ago if we don't do it," said Fuller. “What we need to do right now is band together and take necessary steps to avoid catastrophic results tomorrow.”

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