Coronavirus

Lockdown: Tarrant, Collin* Counties Order Residents to Shelter in Place

Tarrant County and Collin County initiated their own coronavirus-related shutdowns Tuesday.
Tarrant County and Collin County initiated their own coronavirus-related shutdowns Tuesday. Wiki Commons
Tarrant and Collin counties issued their own shelter-in-place orders Tuesday morning. Tarrant County's is a lot like Dallas County's. Collin County's has a hole in it big enough to drive a truck through.

Dallas and Tarrant counties' orders require residents to stay home unless they are working at an essential business — like a grocery store, telecom provider or delivery service — going to get food or necessary household supplies or getting out individually for exercise.

Collin County's order allows any business to remain open, leaving it to the business itself to make sure it complies with Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide order. Abbott's order — intended to slow the advance of the novel coronavirus — bans dine-in service at restaurants statewide, closes bars and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.

"All businesses, jobs and workers are essential," Collin County Judge Chris Hill said. "Any business that cannot operate according to these guidelines cannot operate ... unless they can make changes to that business to bring themselves into compliance."

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price implored Cowtown residents not to overreact.

“Don’t go panic-shopping. There’s plenty of goods, plenty of food.” — Betsy Price

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“Today's announcement is not meant to be alarmist or to cause panic,” Price said. “Don’t go panic-shopping. There’s plenty of goods, plenty of food.”

The stay-at-home order is essential, she said, to make sure the county's hospital system is not overrun.

“We have 5,300 hospital beds in Tarrant County and, at any given time, about 85% of them are full,” she said. “If we don't begin to slow the virus, we could easily have 12,000 who need hospital care.”

Abbott has left it up to Texas' cities and counties to determine just how far they want to go with coronavirus-related movement restrictions. With Tarrant County now on board, Price said, 70% of Texas' population is now under some version of a shelter-in-place order.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young