Updated March 20, 2020
In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order that temporarily prohibits dining in at bars and restaurants, closes all Texas schools and gyms, and bans gatherings of more than 10 people.
The order also limits visits to nursing and retirement homes. It went into effect at midnight Thursday, March 19, and will last through April 3.
Many of the Order’s provisions align with the recommendations issued earlier this week by Benbrook Mayor Jerry Dittrich. The Mayor’s Amended Order strongly urges individuals to avoid gatherings of 10 or more persons anywhere in the City. The Amended Order further states that this recommendation applies to all members of our community, not just those individuals who are considered at “high-risk” for contracting the virus.
The Mayor’s Order is also in accordance with the recommendations of the President of the United States. It has been in effect since 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 17.
“We know many of our local businesses have already been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” the Mayor said in a previous statement. “So this is not a recommendation we made lightly.”
On Wednesday, Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley had issued an Amended Declaration of Local Disaster; provisions of that document included limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people.
Supporting Local Businesses
In an effort to assist local businesses during the crisis, the City has temporarily relaxed its regulations, allowing business owners to put up portable signs or other temporary signage to promote their business; for more information, please call 817-249-6060. Benbrook consumers are encouraged to continue to support local eateries by using their drive-through, curbside pickup, and/or delivery options.
On March 16, Mayor Dittrich issued a Declaration of Local Disaster, which makes the City eligible to receive federal and state assistance with any needed response and recovery.
At their March 19 meeting, City Council passed a resolution authorizing the continuation of the Declaration. The Mayor then signed an amended Declaration. The amended version clarifies that the City’s document adopts all applicable previous Declarations of Disaster that may be issued by the County, State, or the federal government, as well as any subsequent declarations.
“We understand this is a very difficult and uncertain time,” the Mayor said, “But this is not a time to panic – it is a time to practice the recommended precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus and safeguard the community. Benbrook always pulls together when called upon, and I believe we will pull together to fight this virus as well.”
The Mayor also noted that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a website providing guidance and resources for concerned business owners.
As of Thursday afternoon, March 19, Tarrant County Public Health has reported a total of 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, including one Benbrook resident; there has been one death. Also on Thursday, the Texas Health and Human Services department declared a public health emergency.
City officials recognize that the COVID-19 crisis has been evolving rapidly. They are monitoring the situation daily, and carefully considering each possible action. In the event of a medical emergency, Benbrook’s public safety teams have put the appropriate precautions in place and are prepared to respond quickly.
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Texas Health and Human Services; the department can also be reached by dialing 211.
Tarrant County Public Health; the County has set up a coronavirus hotline, 817-248-6299 (staffed only during regular business hours)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Benbrook Police Department non-emergency: 817-249-1610
Benbrook Fire Department and Emergency Services: 249-1727
Benbrook City Hall: 817-249-3000 (staffed only during regular business hours)
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) coronavirus website