(Last updated March 26, 2020)
As the steady stream of DFW Metroplex Counties continue to implement their respective versions of “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders, we are noticing that later adopting counties are – understandably – relying heavily on the form and substance of orders issued by earlier adopting North Texas counties.
The Amended Proclamation Declaring a Local State of Disaster ordered by the Ellis County Commissioner’s Court on March 24, 2020 at 7:25 p.m. (the “Ellis County Order”) is a solid example of this practice (a full copy of the Ellis County Order can be found here). The Ellis County Order relies on the basic format of the first adopting Dallas County Order, while utilizing – and in some cases enhancing – the substance of the Tarrant County Order which included various useful additional clarifications over the Dallas County Order. The Ellis County Order additionally incorporates an easy-to-read table giving specific guidance on which businesses can remain open (and under which examples) and which are prohibited from opening.
As indicated, the Ellis County Order is substantially the same in substance as the Tarrant County Order (our Client Alert for the Tarrant County Order can be found here) and so I won’t reiterate the common provisions shared by the Ellis County Order and the Tarrant County Order in this alert. The Ellis County Order did, however, include the following distinctive or additional provisions: (i) chiropractors were added to the definition of Essential Healthcare Operations within the definition of Essential Businesses (subject to the same overriding provision that elective treatments or care should be suspended for the duration of the Ellis County Order); (ii) a helpful clarification was added to the definition of Essential Government Functions within the definition of Essential Businesses which outlined that educational services are Essential Government Functions to the extent necessary to implement and maintain distance learning with no students present on campus; and (iii) real estate transactions were removed from the listing of Essential Businesses.
The Ellis County Order is effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 25, 2020 and continues in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 3, 2020.
We will continue to monitor developments in the DFW Metroplex and will provide updated alerts as applicable.