Up to Date Information
COVID-19 4/1/2020 Evening Update.
Good evening Forney and happy April Fools Day! We promise not to include any April Fools jokes or announcements here. The COVID-19 situation continues to change daily, if not hourly. This update will focus on Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-14 Relating to Statewide Continuity of Essential Services and Activities as well as City of Forney Mayor Penn’s Amended Shelter in Place at Home order. This update will also explain what businesses and workers need to do to determine if they are permitted to work or remain operational. Today marks the first day of the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and the 30 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD campaign. More information is available here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3cpPc6M5xuwoGqB2rFYCZqMA120FGZGzrPH7jet0sCCrLSXgw5nQmFPQU
Governor Abbott’s GA-14 Executive Order
Governor Abbott’s order is a statewide order that orders all Texas citizens to stay at home except to engage in essential services and essential activities across the state. GA-14 goes into effect tomorrow morning, April 2, 2020 at 12:01am through April 30, 2020. Essential Services are those defined by the US Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Version 2.0. Businesses and workers can determine if they are an “essential service” by visiting this website: http://tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/. The State of Texas, through the Texas Department of Emergency Management, has a process explained on that website for businesses to go through to request that their business be classified as essential if it does not meet the criteria.
Link to Governor Abbott’s GA-14 Executive Order: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-14_Statewide_Essential_Service_and_Activity_COVID-19_IMAGE_03-31-2020.pdf
The order also closes all schools for in-person attendance through May 4, 2020.
Mayor Penn’s Amended Shelter-in-Place At Home Order
Mayor Penn’s order amends the previous order that was put into effect on March 20, 2020. This order for the City of Forney is also effective at 12:01am tomorrow, April 2, 2020. It will remain in effect until 11:59pm on April 8, 2020 unless amended, rescinded, or superseded. This order for the City of Forney is consistent with Governor Abbott’s GA-14 order. The order opens City of Forney parks and park trails, and it allows religious services and houses of worship to engage in services that are consistent with the guidelines from the President and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention by practicing social distancing when those services cannot be conducted by video and teleconference.
Both Governor Abbott’s GA-14 order and Mayor Penn’s amended order require everyone to engage in social distancing when outside their homes and when interacting with persons outside of their household. Both orders continue the prohibitions of eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts. The Governor’s order also prohibits visiting gyms or massage establishments, and it now prohibits visiting tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons.
The City of Forney is no longer accepting requests for waivers to the City of Forney order. All requests for “waivers” or for businesses to be reclassified as “essential” must be made to the Texas Department of Emergency Management through this website: http://tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/. All businesses in the City of Forney are a vital part of our community. When the City of Forney adopted our shelter-in-place at home order, we were one of the first jurisdictions to allow a process for the consideration of waivers to try to balance public health policies, social distancing, and business needs which we recognize support individual people and families.
Sources of Information & Resources
The City of Forney has a dedicated webpage for information related to COVID-19. You may visit it here: www.forneytx.gov/covid19. These updates we post on social media are also being posted there under the “Up to Date Information” link on the left side of the page. There are several important updates from our “COVID-19 3/30/2020 Evening Update.”
The US has a new website: https://www.coronavirus.gov/ with concise information for everyone.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has a website devoted to COVID-19 in Texas.
Link to website: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/
Link to case counts/dashboard in Texas: https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0y057rVGAyeoXMjiRu89jRxVJu-vaktz5WmKOY8lTw0wVfMlO1XIqYeBU#/ed483ecd702b4298ab01e8b9cafc8b83
Link to information on COVID-19 TESTING: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/#test
Mental Health Resources: The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority has a mental health support line at 833-251-7544. It is normal to experience stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after crises. If you or someone you know is in need of support, please call.
The more we work together in observing these orders and practicing social distancing guidelines, the quicker we will get through this. Remember, the virus does not discriminate. It does not care about your political views, income, race, or any other factor other than your body’s ability to fight with it. Thank you for your partnership with us is keeping COVID-19 from spreading in our community.
COVID-19 3/30/2020 Evening Update.
Good evening Forney! Thank you to everyone who reads these updates and is taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. Your public servants here at the Police Department and across the City of Forney certainly are. The reason these updates come out late in the day each day is that we gather information from daily conference calls and press conferences and attempt to provide you with the most relevant, reliable, and accurate information that consists of not only general guidance but also specific information for our community. This post will cover several topics.
CURRENT STATUS OF COVID-19 & CASE COUNTS: According to officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), we are currently in an “acceleration stage” of the pandemic here in Texas. Case counts are growing rapidly and the virus is spreading across more and more of the community. DSHS maintains a count of known tests given and known cases across the state. You may access that website here: https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/ed483ecd702b4298ab01e8b9cafc8b83. While this is an accurate source of information, it should be considered a best-case scenario for the actual number of people with COVID-19. Many people who are sick do not require hospital treatment or other forms of healthcare and can self-monitor and self-treat at home. The medical community and public health officials are essentially unanimous in their continued recommendations that each and every citizen engage in social distancing. The best way to prevent illness and slow the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Truly each individual citizen has the duty and the tools necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. You should be staying home when possible. When you leave your home, you should be keeping at least six feet of distance between you and others outside your household. The importance of social distancing and each person’s individual commitment to practicing social distancing when outside their home cannot be overstated.
ALCOHOL SALES TO GO/DELIVERY: There has been a lot of posting on various forms of social media about alcohol sales to go and for delivery. Some restrictions have been relaxed to: 1) help restaurants maintain an important part of their business, and 2) provide those who wish to order alcohol with a food purchase an appropriate alternative in this unprecedented time. These restrictions, however, do not permit the violation of open-container laws and other restrictions. Here are the facts about what restaurants are allowed to do:
- To-go/delivery alcohol sales must be with a food order
- To-go/delivery alcohol must be in a manufacturer-sealed container. Already made margaritas are not allowed – sorry folks.
- Distilled spirits (hard alcohol) must not be in containers larger than 375 milliliters. This allows restaurants to sell cocktail kits to go (margarita lovers can still get a margarita to-go, but it will have to made at home).
For more details see: https://www.tabc.state.tx.us/coronavirus/#pickup. It is important that we as a community drink responsibly and not mix open containers of alcohol with driving.
CRIME DURING DISASTERS. When disasters have been declared, several types of crimes come with stronger penalties than they usually do. The offense of theft is one of those offenses with stiffer punishments when committed during disasters. At the Forney Police Department, we are responding to several theft calls at some of our retailers. For anyone who may be considering resorting to theft as a means to put food on their table, our community has many resources including the Forney Food Pantry (https://www.facebook.com/forneyfoodpantry/) and several of our faith-based organizations. We are happy to help connect anyone in our community to these resources.
ENFORCEMENT OF ORDERS. We have had many questions about whether people need travel documents or some kind of approval document to be driving to an essential business, the grocery store, or to get healthcare. No such documents are required and are not being issued by the Forney Police Department. We do investigate complaints of violations of the shelter-in-place orders, and we continue to seek everyone’s voluntary compliance with them. However, violations of the orders are enforceable to include a potential fine and/or arrest.
Thank you to those who are actively practicing social distancing, following the shelter-in-place at home orders of our City and County, and encouraging your family members, friends, and neighbors to do the same. We all want to “get back to normal.” The more we work together in observing these orders truly the quicker we may do so. The virus does not discriminate. It does not care about your political views, income, race, or any other factor other than your body’s ability to fight with it. Thank you for your partnership with us is keeping COVID-19 from spreading in our community.
March 23, 2020
Update: At the meeting, Forney City Council adopted the “Extension of Declaration of Disaster and Order of the Mayor of the City of Forney. A copy of the signed order is attached. A few of the important features of this order are:
- Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Businesses are broadly defined in the order. Any businesses or organizations that do not meet the definitions of “Essential” under the order, may request of a waiver of the order by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request for a waiver must explain how you will enforce and apply the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention social distancing and other public health recommendations. Requests for waivers will be responded to very quickly.
- Residents of Forney who work outside the city limits and in an area not subject to restrictions specifically imposed under a declaration of local disaster and public health emergency may report to work without restriction.
Forney City Council Members and City Staff are sympathetic to the economical, personal, and other consequences caused by the COVID-19 disaster and the restrictions of this order. Our order has worked to balance the importance of imposing responsible and reasonable social distancing control measures while allowing essential work to continue and especially responsible businesses to continue operation. The City of Forney has dedicated a website of www.forneytx.gov/covid19 to the COVID-19 emergency in our community.
FORNEY, TX – Mayor Mary Penn has called a special emergency meeting of the City of Forney City Council for today, Monday, March 23, 2020 at 3pm. The meeting will be held at City Hall in Council Chambers. We will be utilizing as many social distancing practices as possible. The meeting was called to discuss and consider extending the disaster declaration for the City of Forney and a shelter in place at home order. A copy of the agenda is attached.