In A 4-1 Vote On Friday, Dallas County Commissioners Approved Extending The County’s Declaration Of Disaster For An Additional Seven Weeks.
Update at 5:25 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020: In a tweet on Friday afternoon, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins clarified that, while the state of disaster declaration has been extended to May 20 by today’s vote, he is only extending the stay-at-home order — a power afforded him by the disaster declaration — through April 30 (for now).
Based on the extension of the Declaration of Disaster granted today, I am extending the Dallas County Safer at Home Order to April 30. The Declaration of Disaster is necessary to provide the tools to lead you through this. The Safer at Home Orders are the rules we ask of you.
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) April 3, 2020
Original story, updated to reflect the above information, follows.
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Following a two-hour meeting on Friday morning, Dallas County commissioners voted to extend Dallas County state of emergency declaration for Dallas County through May 20, allowing Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to extend his stay-at-home order — possibly through the same date.
In a tweet on Friday afternoon, Jenkins announced that he was formally extending the county-wide stay-at-home order through at least April 30 for the time being.
His shelter-in-place order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, initially announced on March 22, was set to expire today without county commissioner approval.
At the end of Friday’s meeting, which the Dallas Morning News describes as “tense,” commissioners voted 4-1 to continue the state of emergency declaration, granting Jenkins the authority to extend the stay-at-home order, and possibly even stretching out its enactment for as long as nearly two months — or until commissioners grant him the addition authority to extend it even beyond May 20.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, citing the difficulties the order is causing for his constituents in southern Dallas, was the lone vote against continuing the state of emergency declaration.
Jenkins’ subsequent stay-at-home order extension through April 30 is expected to carry the same mandates it had previously. That said, some elements of the mandates — including an ongoing fight to determine which businesses are considered “essential” under the circumstances — are being tweaked as they go.
Following back-to-back days on Wednesday and Thursday of the county confirming 100 positive new cases of COVID-19, the county reported a total of 831 confirmed COVID-19 cases — and at least 17 deaths — through Thursday evening.
It seems likely the county will pass a total of 1,000 cases at some point over the weekend.
“This is just the beginning of the curve,” Jenkins said at a Zoom press conference with Dallas media members on Wednesday afternoon, noting that he anticipated more and more positive cases to be confirmed in the coming days.
Still, at the same press conference, Jenkins also expressed optimism about his stay-at-home order’s effectiveness in fighting the spread of the virus.
“This is to be expected,” he said of the recent number spikes. “It’s not cause for panic. I feel better about our chances [of containing the pandemic] over the last 36 hours than I have.”