Up to Date Information
COVID-19 5/18/2020 Evening Update
Today, Governor Abbott announced the second phase of Reopen Texas and provided the most updated list of businesses and activities, and when they can resume.
• Gyms and exercise facilities
• Non-essential manufacturers and other offices
• NEW - Massage and personal care businesses (including tattoo/piercing studios, laser hair removal, and hair loss treatment)
• NEW – Child care centers
• NEW – Youth Clubs (YMCA, Boy Scouts, etc.)
• Restaurants at 50% capacity
• Bars, tasting rooms, and similar establishments at 25% capacity
• Bowling alleys, bingo halls, and skating rinks
• Rodeos and equestrian events
• Aquariums, natural caverns
• Professional sports without in-person spectators
• Day and overnight youth camps
• Youth Sports
• School districts can hold summer school if social distancing guidelines are maintained
For complete guidelines and information about upcoming reopening announcements, please visit https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.
COVID-19 5/5/2020 Evening Update
This afternoon, Governor Abbott provided another update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and the next phase of re-openings. Here are the noteworthy takeaways.
Effective Friday, May 8: Hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons and barber shops will be allowed to open with restrictions, including one customer per stylist and appropriate social distancing. The governor also strongly recommends masks for both stylists and customers, and using a reservation system to avoid grouping of walk-ins in waiting areas.
More specific guidelines can be read at https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/cosmet/cosmet.htm
Effective Monday, May 18: Gyms and exercise facilities will be able to reopen with 25% capacity. Initial restrictions will include showers and locker rooms remaining closed, requirements for customers to wear gloves covering their whole hand, and the disinfection of all equipment after each use. Distancing will be required as well, and any equipment brought in (such as a yoga mat), must be disinfected before and after use.
Funerals, memorials, burials, and weddings are all treated the same as church services. They should all follow the Protocols for Churches and Places of Worship (alternate rows, limiting seating to household members together only). It is recommend that the provider of such services should provide spaces for vulnerable populations.
Non-essential manufacturing and other offices will be welcome to reopen Monday, May 18 to the greater of the following: five employees, or 25% of their workforce, provided that social distancing can be maintained.
Guidelines are still being worked out for bars and the status of tattoo shops were not clarified (will update when that information is released).
For a more detailed list on what businesses are open, visit https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas
Governor Abbott also reaffirmed that while outdoor seating areas at restaurants do not have the same 25% capacity restrictions as indoor spaces, other regulations such as spacing between tables still apply.
Similarly, he clarified that regulations currently applied to state parks also apply to the state’s beaches, lakes and rivers, including river rafting; those restrictions include maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, and having no more than 5 in a group unless your party are all members of your household.
For more information regarding the governor’s orders you can visit https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-order-to-expand-openings-of-certain-businesses-and-activities
COVID-19 4/27/2020 Evening Update
Governor Abbott announced today the statewide plan for reopening Texas as it relates to the COVID-19 disaster. For the past several weeks, everyone in Texas has been subject to Executive Order GA-16, which is set to expire on at 11:59pm on April 30, 2020. Governor Abbott is allowing that order to expire. In its place, Governor Abbott has issued GA-18 Relating to the Expanded Reopening of Services as Part of the Safe, Strategic Plan to Open Texas in Response to the COVID-19 Disaster. The full order is available at the link below.
Starting on May 1, 2020, all Texans will no longer be subject to stay at home orders. May 1 will mark the beginning of a statewide strategic, phased process of reopening. Governor Abbott advised that the approach is based upon the data available and recommendations from the officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A summary of the new restrictions that will be in effect on May 1:
• All retail stores, restaurants (that derive less than 51% of their gross receipts from alcohol sales), movie theaters, and malls (except the food court dining area, play areas, and interactive displays) can reopen on May 1 at occupancy levels of no more than 25%.
• Museums and libraries can open at 25% capacity as well, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
• Outdoor sports are allowed so long as no more than four participants will play at the same time (examples offered by the governor included golf and tennis). All golf course operations may open.
• All licensed healthcare workers may resume work. Hospitals must still reserve capacity for COVID-19 patients.
• The Governor’s order states: “People shall avoid visiting bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, or cosmetology salons.” These business must remain closed at this time.
• Individuals are recommended to wear face coverings but this is not required by law.
The Governor’s Strike Force continues to work hard to determine how to allow other businesses and activities to resume. The Governor advised that they were specifically working on programs to assist childcare programs such as summer camps as well as barber shops, salons, gyms, and bars to find ways to safely reopen and resume operations.
Phase 1 is predicted to last through May 18, and we are predicted to be able to move into Phase 2 at that time absent a large increase in COVID-19 cases.
It was repeatedly emphasized how important that maintaining good hygiene and social distancing are as we move through these phases. The degree to which the majority of Texans have been compliant with the restrictions and enhanced precautions of social and physical distancing is the reason we are able to begin moving through this process. Full details regarding the Open Texas plan are available at the link below. There are special considerations for protecting the most vulnerable in Texas, where include all residents 65 years of age and older as well as those who are immunocompromised.
Governor Abbott also issued two additional executive orders, GA-19 and GA-20. GA-19 deals with hospital capacity. GA-20 changed some of the travel restrictions that were in effect. Part of GA-20 reads: “Every person who enters the State of Texas as the final destination through an airport, from a point of origin or point of last departure in the following—State of California; State of Connecticut; State of New York; State of New Jersey; State of Washington; City of Atlanta, Georgia; City of Chicago, Illinois; City of Detroit, Michigan; or City of Miami, Florida—shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Texas or the duration of the person’s presence in Texas, whichever is shorter. The governor may by proclamation add to or subtract from the list of states and cities covered by this executive order. This order to self-quarantine shall not apply to people traveling in connection with military service, emergency response, health response, or critical-infrastructure functions, as may be determined by the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Each person covered under this order to self-quarantine shall be responsible for all associated costs, including transportation, lodging, food, and medical care.”
Here locally, Kaufman County has 73 total cases including 38 who have recovered as of this morning. These facts highlight how important it is for everyone to continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing as you begin to enjoy more and more reopened businesses and services.
Announcements will be made soon regarding the status of City of Forney buildings and Parks. The park trails remain open at this time; please practice social distancing and good hygiene!
COVID-19 4/21/2020 Evening Update
Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-16 is still in effect and currently runs through April 30. This order requires all persons in Texas to minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people not in the same household. GA-16 allows people to engage in “essential services” as defined by the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Version 2.0 and also includes religious services. Some services specifically identified as not meeting the “essential services” definition are:
• Cosmetology Salons
• Massage Establishments
• Tattoo Studios
• Piercing Studios
• Eating/Drinking Inside of Bars/Restaurants/Food Courts – But, the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks is allowed and highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of the executive order.
GA-16 continues to require people to engage in social distancing and physical distancing protocols when outside their homes.
GA-16 allows for “reopened services” starting at 12:01am on Friday, April 24, 2020. “Reopened services” include retail services that are not defined as “essential services” but that may be provided through pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep in strict compliance with the guidance issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services. This guidance currently states:
"I am an Employee of a retail business re-opening. What should I do to keep myself and our customers safe?"
• All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
• All employees must be screened before coming into the business for new or worsening cough; shortness of breath; sore throat; loss of taste or smell; feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit; or known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19. Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home.
• Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands.
• All employees must wear face coverings.
• Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another."
"I am a Customer. How do I purchase and obtain goods from a retail store that has just re-opened?"
Customers may purchase items from a retail location for pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep, but may not enter the premises.
• Retail to-go:
All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
Purchased items should be delivered by the employee to the backseat or trunk of the customer’s vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.
Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.
• Retail delivery to customer’s doorstep:
All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
Purchased items should be delivered by an employee or third-party carrier and delivered to the customer’s doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer’s house or business.
• Retail delivery by mail:
All payments must be done over the phone or internet. Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.
The customer should wash or sanitize their hands after the transaction.
Governor Abbott has stated that he will be issuing an updated executive order on or around April 27. This continues to be a rapidly developing and continuously evolving situation. We will do our best to keep everyone updated as information develops.
• What are the current status of case counts and trends in our area?
• Are pet grooming services allowed to reopen under GA-16?
In the opinion of the City of Forney, yes, pet grooming services may resume operations on April 24 as long as both the workers and customers abide by the above requirements.
• What is the status of City of Forney parks?
At this time, City of Forney Parks remain closed and trails remain open.
• When will we be “back to normal?”
No one can predict the date that this will occur. The process of opening and easing restrictions continues to be continuously discussed at the national, state, county, and municipal levels. Elected leaders and government officials are basing their recommendations and decisions off of the data that is available.
• Where can I look for jobs/employment opportunities?
The Texas Workforce Solution is directing persons here: https://www.workintexas.com/vosnet/Default.aspx
• What can people do who are experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health struggles due to COVID-19?
The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority has a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-251-7544.
There is also a 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 866-260-8000
More info is available here: https://ntbha.org/
COVID-19 4/13/2020 Afternoon Update.
You have probably heard about data suggesting that the “whole of America” approach to flattening the curve, decreasing the spread of COVID-19, and that overall social distancing has been working. It is very important to interpret these reports and data at the local level. Hearing this information should not suggest social distancing efforts be reduced at this time in our area. From a time standpoint in terms of the spread of COVID-19, case counts in Texas and locally are still increasing. We have not yet hit our peak.
***The following information is taken directly from the Texas Department of State Health Services at https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html…. Near the bottom of this webpage which is a dashboard, there are several small boxes (“Cases by County, Fatalities by County, Trends, etc.) Users may click on each box to review the data.*** The photo with the black background shows the trend line in Texas for Daily New Cases & Fatalities. Cases are in blue; fatalities are in yellow. Texas has done well overall in terms of our statewide ability to recover from the disease; Governor Abbott has said numerous times that Texas ranks second in our overall recovery rate in the US.
These Trends show that we have not yet hit our peak across the state. Projections and models continue to change as to when Texas may hit its peak. One frequently cited model (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) is showing Texas to reach its highest death/day ratio on May 1, 2020. (Source: http://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/texas).
It is important to note that this model predicts there will be 71 COVID-19 related deaths that day but there is a wide range of uncertainty in the prediction with a range of as few as 17 and as many as 220 deaths that day. As we have seen across the county, our success in abiding by the COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene protocols may help reduce those predictions.
Here in Kaufman County, there have been 29 confirmed cases as of the time of this update. They are broken down by “city area” in the photo showing the table of cities/areas. This information was obtained from a Kaufman County press release.
• We have not yet hit our local peak in the State or Texas or in Kaufman County.
• It’s important to continue abiding by social distancing and enhanced hygiene precautions.
• We are getting a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. But, it is important to remain focused on the strategies that are working to avoid a rebound in the spread of COVID-19.
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 email@example.com. 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.