From Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt to the community:
I wanted to share with you my growing concern surrounding the COVID-19 virus which has swept through our nation and around the world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been adversely impacted already or will be impacted in the coming days, weeks, and months.
I have been in continuous contact with local and state health authorities monitoring the coronavirus response. Telephonic meetings are held regularly with the County and City Health Authorities, Doctors, EMS, County Officials, City Officials and Elected Officials of each city in Rockwall County to update the effect this is having on our community as well as adapting to the changing nature of this health crisis.
I want to provide you with some of the steps taken in Rockwall to minimize the risk and exposure to COVID — 19. The City has delayed the start to its baseball and softball program, closed The Center and cancelled all organized activities offered by the Parks & Recreation Department. All private rentals at city facilities have been cancelled, and we are taking steps to allow permits to be submitted online and waiving certain fees associated with conducting business online. Those who can conduct business online, by mail, or on the phone are encouraged to do so. A list of city department numbers is provided in the following link:
On Wednesday, March 18, I declared a Local State of Disaster for Public Health Emergency for the City of Rockwall for seven days. Again, on March 19, an updated Disaster Declaration was issued to comply with Governor Abbott’s Executive Order. Your City Council approved this Disaster Declaration in an open emergency meeting on March 19. This Disaster Declaration adopts the Governor’s Executive Order, provides even greater protection for our citizens and businesses, and will be in effect until April 7, 2020, unless extended by your City Council.
1. That this declaration hereby limits the size of gatherings to not more than 10 people and mandates the cancellation of all such gatherings that exceed that until further notice.
2. That this declaration hereby prohibits the issuance of any permits for activities that are known to attract more than the established 10 persons.
3. For purposes of clarity, gatherings do not include the following:
(i) places of employment;
(ii) office space, hotels or residential buildings;
(iii) grocery stores, shopping malls, outdoor markets;
(iv) hospitals, medical facilities and shelters;
(v) jails and detention centers
(vi) transit facilities;
(vii) manufacturing facilities and
(viii) government buildings providing essential services.
4. That this declaration hereby orders that no person shall eat or drink at bars, restaurants, and food
courts, or visit gyms or massage parlors; provided, however, that the use of drive-thru, pickup, or
delivery options are allowed.
5. That this declaration hereby orders that no person shall visit nursing homes or retirement or longterm care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
6. That this declaration hereby directs the City Manager to take appropriate measures to facilitate online payments and authorize the waiver of online collection fees.
7. That this declaration directs that all applications for permits and developments must be submitted online or through the U.S. Mail.
8. That this declaration directs that any meeting of any City of Rockwall Board or Commission is cancelled.
I want everyone to know that your city is open for business and will continue to provide police and fire protection, as well as water, waste water, road maintenance, and all other essential services. At the time of this writing, there are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Rockwall County. We can all hopefully continue to minimize an outbreak of cases if we are socially responsible and take the advice of national, state, and local health agencies. Social distancing is the most impactful thing an individual can do during this time.
I am sure you have experienced empty shelves in the grocery stores or other retail outlets. If everyone would use a little common courtesy and buy only what you need for the immediate future, the stores will soon return to normal.
Both Dallas County and Collin County have multiple confirmed cases. If you have already prepared, and are social distancing at home, you’re doing your part. Be prepared, stay calm, and stay home if at all possible.
Many residents are already staying indoors and spending time with family. I urge you to take this time to watch a movie together, play board games, listen to your favorite music, and focus on so many blessings we all have in our lives. The coronavirus is serious, but we will get through this together and be better and stronger on the other side of this global emergency.
By Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt.
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