Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams joined together Tuesday calling for all residents to stay at home to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
"We're going to flatten this curve and it will get us back to work faster get you who are suffering from lack of work back on the job quicker," Price said. "It isn't lost on us that these are incredibly hard times but if you're sick in the hospitals, we will really be in trouble so, by closing for a short amount of time we believe we can stop that."
Stay at home orders were issued in both Tarrant County and Fort Worth Tuesday, with the county's effective until April 7 and Fort Worth's in place until April 3.
“I agree with it, I think it’s a good idea," said Tammy Pistillo, owner of Yours Truly, a clothing boutique in Sundance Square.
She said they closed their doors on Saturday after more strict guidelines went into place. Pistillo said they were trying to sell merchandise online and admited the new order hurt her bottom line, but she wants to help stop the pandemic.
"I mean we were already starting to stay home on Saturday because maybe it will help to stop the spread," Pistillo said. "We can only hope that’s the outcome."
Outside of the effective dates, the orders are nearly identical. Under the county and city declarations, only essential businesses should remain open, which included grocery stores, gas stations, day cares and restaurants with delivery and takeout.
The orders activate the city and county's emergency operations plan and authorize the city to commandeer private property for use as temporary housing or emergency shelter.
They also allow local authorities to take "any actions necessary to promote health and suppress disease, including quarantine, examining and regulating hospitals, regulating ingress and egress from the city and fining those who do not comply with the city's rules."
What will affect most people, is that the order authorizes those in the city and county to stay at home.
Under the order, restaurants are still permitted to offer take out, delivery and drive-thru services.
In Fort Worth, all travel, including on foot, bicycle or automobile, is prohibited, except for the purposes of essential travel to work in an essentialbBusiness. For definitions of essential business, travel or activities, see the mayor's order here.
All elective medical, surgical and dental procedures are prohibited in city limits so that resources can be redirected to COVID-19 response.
If someone in a household has contracted COVID-19, the entire household is ordered to isolate at home.
Nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care facilities are to prohibit non-essential visitors.
Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston have so far imposed similar restrictions, with varying end dates. On Tuesday morning, Collin County also announced stricter regulations regarding movement during the spread of the pandemic.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made it clear Sunday that a move toward a "shelter-in-place" would not be made at the state level, but rather at the local level because more than 200 of Texas' 254 counties did not have any cases of the virus.
Price said the move was necessary in Fort Worth, "because we know that urban communities are denser in population and people are at greater risk of significant spikes for the transmission of this virus. That also has the potential to overwhelm our health care system."
She reminded people there was no need to panic shop and asked that North Texans not go to the grocery store and load up on supplies. She further asked that families send only one person to the store to minimize the risk of exposure.
"We are all going to get through this together," Price said Monday. "You are all providing great compliance we just ask that you get a little bit tighter on how much you're out and who you're around."
"Share the message with your family … Fort Worth stand strong, we'll do it together. Y'all stay safe, y'all stay healthy and y'all stay home," Price said.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott