(Last updated March 25, 2020)
Many questions and concerns have been raised by Collin County’s stay at home order which went into effect on March 24, 2020 (see our Client Alert on the Collin County Order here). Most of the concerns raised relate to the fact that Collin County Judge Chris Hill stated that all businesses are essential instead of defining a narrower listing of businesses that would be allowed to remain open as Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton Counties have done (along with many other urban/suburban Texas counties – including Harris, Bexar and Travis Counties). In response to this more permissive stance by Collin County, two cities partially located within Collin County have adopted tighter regulations and/or policies with a third poised to do so imminently.
The City of Dallas is located in parts of five Texas counties (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall). To avoid the confusion that a county patchwork of orders would create within the City of Dallas, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Dallas City Manager T. J. Broadnax adopted Emergency Regulations on March 24, 2020 which, in effect, adopted the stricter stay at home order issued by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins for application throughout the entirety of the City of Dallas, regardless of the county in which a given portion of the City of Dallas may be located (a copy of the City of Dallas Emergency Regulations can be found here). This means that any business located anywhere within the boundaries of the City of Dallas may only be open if it is an “Essential Business” as defined by the Dallas County Order (found here), and then only to the extent that the applicable social distancing requirements are followed to the extent possible. In addition to adopting the Dallas County Order, the Dallas Emergency Regulations also mandate that all laboratories located within the City of Dallas which are conducting COVID-19 testing report the results of that testing (detailing total number of tests given and the total positive tests for the prior 24 hour period) to the City of Dallas every day by 5 p.m. The referenced Emergency Regulations of the City of Dallas were immediately effective upon issuance and will continue in effect until rescinded, superseded or amended.
The City of Frisco straddles the Collin and Denton County lines. To alleviate different treatment of businesses within Frisco city boundaries, the Mayor of Frisco has determined that the definition of “Essential Businesses” adopted by the Denton County stay at home order (found here) will be applied to businesses throughout the entirety of the City of Frisco. A reference to such policy is set forth on the website for the City of Frisco, however, it does not appear that a formal order or regulations to that effect have yet been released publicly.
McKinney Mayor George Fuller has given indications that he intends to issue regulations for the City of McKinney which would apply the stricter Dallas County “Essential Business” standards to businesses within the City of McKinney. At the time of this Client Alert, such regulations have not yet been made public. While no such formal tightening actions yet appear to be forthcoming by other large Collin County cities (including, without limitation, Plano and Allen), the Mayor of Plano, Harry LaRosiliere, issued a press release on March 25, 2020 outlining his position on the stay at home order (found here) and his agreement with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson that we in North Texas need to have a uniform approach to combatting COVID-19.
We will continue to monitor developments in the DFW Metroplex and will provide updated alerts as applicable.