Friends and Neighbors,
Below you will find resources as a reference for you and your family regarding COVID-19/the coronavirus.
State and Local Orders
Dallas County Judge
- On March 22, Judge Jenkins issued a shelter-in-place order, instructing all Dallas County residents to stay in their homes except for essential work and errands. The order requires all businesses that are not deemed essential to close all in-person operations and work from home. The order goes into effect at 11:59 PM March 23rd and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020.
Office of the Governor
- On Thursday, March 19, four executive orders were issued to limit social gatherings to 10 people, limit visitors to nursing homes except for critical care, prohibit dining in at restaurants (while allowing takeout), and temporarily close schools statewide. Click here to view the executive orders.
- On Friday, March 13, Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster activating state emergency planning and resources. Click here to view the Disaster Declaration.
- The U.S. Congress has passed several pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which became law on March 6, provides emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the outbreak. A summary of the bill can be found here.
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law on March 18, addresses a number of issues, including paid sick leave, insurance coverage for coronavirus testing, nutritional assistance, and unemployment benefits.
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which became law on March 27, is a large economic stimulus package providing for direct payments and jobless benefits for many individuals, help for businesses, and assistance to state and local governments. A good summary of the bill can be found here.
Dallas County Health and Human Services
- DCHHS maintains a dedicated coronavirus webpage for up-to-date information and guidance.
- They also have a coronavirus help number at (972) 692-2780.
Dallas County Judge
- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has a dedicated page for coronavirus updates that include the latest orders and guidelines.
City of Dallas
- The City maintains a coronavirus webpage, and has issued orders and guidelines similar to the County. At that page, you can also sign up for email or text notifications from the City.
Texas Department of State Health Services
- At the state level, DSHS maintains a page that has up-to-date information as well as resources and guidance. https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.
- DSHS has also created a hotline that is open from 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday, at (877) 570-9779.
- Specialists are available 24/7 to answer non-medical coronavirus questions. If they can't answer a question, they will refer it to state and local health department helplines.
- Dial 2-1-1, or (877) 541-7905 or visit http://www.211.org/services/covid19 for additional information.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Dallas ISD and Richardson ISD school campuses are closed indefinitely. See separate sections below for more information about each district.
- The Governor recently waived STAAR testing requirements in light of school closures across the state.
- The Governor also waived other regulations over work-study programs to ensure that those students continue to receive support.
- The Texas Education Agency launched a meal finder website, allowing families to enter their address and find the nearest food pick-up site for their kids.
- Parents of students with disabilities whose special education services are affected should know that their children still have rights and protections. Visit Disability Rights Texas for more information.
- The Texas Education Agency has a website dedicated to support and guidance for school districts.
- RISD will be providing free to-go meals two times a day, Monday through Friday, at locations throughout RISD. Meals are available to any child, 18 years or younger, regardless of whether or not they are a RISD student. Meal pick up locations can be found at http://www.risd.org/freemeals
- Beginning Wednesday, March 25, RISD students will be able to continue lessons at home through the use of their school-issued devices in grades 3-8 and/or through age appropriate lessons available through the RISD website for all students in grades Pre-K through 12.
- Important updates at www.risd.org/cv19.
- Two COVID-19 testing sites are open in Dallas. Both locations will operate daily between 8 AM and 8 PM. In order to be tested, you must meet the criteria outlined below.
- The first site is located at the American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Plazawill.
- The second site is located at the Dallas Schools Ellis Davis Fieldhouse, 9191 S. Polk Street.
- In order to be tested, you must have a fever of 99.6 or higher AND have a cough or shortness of breath.
- Individuals that meet the criteria above will be tested regardless of age. The age restriction, which limited testing to those above 65 years of age, has been lifted.
- Anyone not meeting the criteria above will not be tested.
- Parkland implemented drive through COVID-19 testing by appointment only for current Parkland patients who meet the medically necessary criteria with a Parkland physician’s order.
- Parkland patients can contact the COVID-19 Patient Line at 214-590-8060. At this time, this service is only available to current Parkland patients.
- The Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized childcare program is making changes to their requirements in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Please check their website regularly for announcements coming soon.
- YMCA branches are currently closed; however, they continue to offer limited childcare programming on a daily basis, supporting the childcare needs of first responders, medical professionals, government officials, and those that must continue their work in this challenging time. Care will be offered until further notice, at 11 YMCA branches across the Dallas Metroplex.
- Texas has received a $16.2 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) to help communities provide meals for older adults. Older adults who need assistance can call the Eldercare Services Hotline at 1-800-677-1116 or visit their website https://eldercare.acl.gov/.
- Dallas County Health and Human Services Older Adult Services Program is delivering meals to homebound seniors. There is a drive-thru for hot meal pick-up service set up at each senior center location. Seniors needing these resources can call 214-819-1860 to enroll.
- Several grocery store chains have made changes to their hours to minimize the risk for seniors needing food and supplies. The Senior Source has compiled a list of senior shopping resources. It can be found here.
- Catholic Charities Dallas is providing emergency assistance for senior housing for homeless. Individuals must be 55+. For assistance, call 469-801-8119.
- There are organizations throughout the Dallas area working to provide food and other essential items during this time. A list of food and clothing pantries open during the outbreak can be found here.
- The Texas Health and Human ServicesCommission has temporarily waived renewal requirements for Medicaid and SNAP recipients due to COVID-19. Additionally, Texas is waiving interview requirements for those applying for SNAP. More information can be found here.
- The Metrocare Coronavirus Support Line is available between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday for Dallas County residents experiencing high anxiety or depression. The Metrocare Coronavirus Support Line for Dallas County is 214-743-1215.
- Metrocare’s professionals will assist individuals in accessing mental health services and provide referrals for other services that may be needed. More information can be found on their website: https://www.metrocareservices.org/en/coronavirus
- The SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (800) 985- 5990 provides 24/7, 365-day-a- year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.
- The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA) has a dedicated COVID-19 mental health support line to provide trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of the outbreak. Individuals can contact the 24/7 COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-251-7544.
- The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute has a page dedicated to mental health resources during a pandemic.
- Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals can call the toll-free Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 833-986-1919.
Businesses & Impacted Employees
- If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply for benefits either online at Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Central Time Monday through Friday.
- Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for long-term, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Information on eligibility, and how to apply, can be found on the agency's website.
- Dallas Water Utilities has suspended water shut-offs until further notice.
- Dallas tap water is safe to drink. Conventional water treatment methods, including filtration and disinfection, are used at all of DWU’s drinking water treatment plants. These processes remove or inactivate bacteria and viruses.
- TXU Energy and Vistra are offering customer assistance, including waiving late fees and extending payment due dates. For more information click here.
- Atmos Energy has temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections. For more information, visit: https://www.atmosenergy.com/customer-service/get-help-paying-your-bill.
- You can get free Spectrum internet for 60 days if you live in a household with a K-12 or college student. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
Drivers' Licenses & Vehicle Registration
- Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Driver License Offices across the state are closed. This temporary closure will not apply to those seeking an initial Commercial Driver License (CDL). DPS offices that provide CDL testing will remain open solely for the purpose of providing initial CDLs.
- Governor Greg Abbott has announced that Texas is waiving certain rules relating to vehicle registration, parking placards for persons with disabilities, and titling to aid the state's efforts to combat COVID-19. These suspensions will allow Texans to avoid penalties for failure to timely title or register a vehicle, or renew a parking placard. Click here for more information.
- DPS has temporarily extended the expiration of any Texas-issued identification card, driver license, commercial driver license or election identification certificate during the disaster declaration. Click here for more information.
Cyber Scams & Price Gouging
- Texans who believe they have encountered disaster scams should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint online. For additional information on disaster scams, visit the Attorney General's disaster scams website.
Other Helpful Links
Our Office's Contact Information
Office of State Representative John Turner
Dallas Office: 10300 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 198 Dallas, TX 75231
Austin Office: P.O. Box 2910 Austin, TX 78768