Richardson City Council Adopts New Emergency Covid-19 Response Ordinance
Monday evening, the Richardson City Council adopted Ordinance 4351 that allows for local enforcement of measures being taken by the state of Texas to phase in the reopening of businesses closed by past orders designed to contain the spread of COVID-19. The City’s Declaration of Disaster of March 18, 2020 will continue until terminated by the City Council.
The newly adopted ordinance does the following:
- Adopts provisions of Executive Orders GA-18, GA-19 and GA-20 and any subsequent Executive Orders Gov. Abbott issues related to COVID-19
- Maintains the City Council/City Manager’s authority to cancel Council Meetings for as long as the Declaration of Disaster is continued
- Maintains the City Manager’s authority to waive the imposition and collection of certain fees and penalties for as long as the Declaration of Disaster is continued
- Maintains up to a $1,000 fine for failure to comply with any provision of the new Order
“As we work together, we all need to make sure we understand and respect our individual abilities to participate in the reopening of the economy,” said Mayor Paul Voelker. “Please be conscious that we are all trying to deal with this health emergency from our own unique perspective, while behaving in a way that can protect our most vulnerable by continuing to stay home as appropriate and following all CDC guidelines.”
On April 27, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a multi-phase plan to gradually reopen businesses in Texas. Gov. Abbott allowed his statewide stay-at-home order to expire April 30, clearing the way for select businesses to reopen with restrictions effective May 1.
The details of Gov. Abbott’s plan are:
- As of May 1, Phase I businesses may reopen at 25 percent occupancy
- Phase 1 businesses include retail, malls, restaurants and movie theaters
- Museums and libraries may also reopen but must keep their interactive exhibits closed
- Churches and places of worship, in accordance with joint guidance provided by the Governor and Texas Attorney General’s Office, can expand their services
- Outdoor sports are allowed
- Doctor’s offices and dentists can start seeing patients
Gov. Abbott’s order supersedes all county or city orders requiring non-essential businesses to remain closed. The order does not apply to businesses previously deemed essential, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. These businesses are not bound by the Phase 1, 25 percent capacity regulation.
While some businesses have been allowed to reopen, others such as barbershops, bars, public swimming pools and gyms must remain closed. No timeline has been announced for their reopening.
Phase 2 of Gov. Abbott’s plan could be enacted as soon as May 18 if Phase 1 doesn’t result in a large increase in COVID-19 cases. If Phase 2 is enacted, businesses would be able to operate at 50 percent occupancy.
Gov. Abbott’s announcement to reopen businesses came less than a week after his retail to go plan went into effect. Under the plan, businesses previously deemed non-essential were allowed to reopen provided they offered service via pickup, mail or delivery. When Gov. Abbott’s newest order went into effect May 1, the requirements put in place under retail to go were removed.
(All updates can be found on the City of Richardson’s COVID-19 news page at www.cor.net/coronavirus.)