Many local residents have been left with lots of questions as the county and many of its towns have made different Stay-At-Home orders and disaster declarations because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here is some information that may answer your Stay-At-Home FAQs.
Denton County’s Stay-At-Home mandate went into effect overnight, and will remain in effect for seven days unless it is extended. The town of Flower Mound has issued its own Stay-At-Home order, effective through April 20.
The county judge, Andy Eads, couldn’t issue the order to be longer than seven days. It will have to be ratified by the Denton County Commissioners Court — which is expected to happen — to be extended. Flower Mound’s Stay-At-Home order is in line with the county’s, and its end date is April 20, but that can be changed. The town is expected to keep its mandate aligned with the county’s; if, for example, the county terminates its order, the town will likely quickly make a similar move.
Other towns and cities have disaster declarations that are in line or less restrictive than the county’s mandate. This does not mean that residents of those towns don’t have to abide by the county’s mandate, it applies to all residents within the county. Highland Village’s disaster declaration is currently scheduled to end in May, and Argyle’s is indefinite. The respective councils are expected to extend, terminate or amend their declarations in kind with what the county does.
The main differences between the new Stay-At-Home mandate and previous county orders are that gatherings of any number of people are prohibited (though you may go to another home to care for a person or pet), and non-essential businesses were forced to close. Many residents, business owners and workers were not sure what are essential businesses and what are not. The county has provided a flyer (right) with examples of each, and a longer list can be found here. If you are still not sure, email [email protected] to get an answer from the county.
Take A Walk
There has also been confusion about what is and isn’t allowed under the Stay-At-Home order. Yes, you can take a walk alone or with your immediate family, and you can go fishing, hiking, running, etc. Just stay six feet away from people who are not members of your household, i.e. “social distancing.” You can still go to parks, but playgrounds are off-limits. Stores that sell essential products remain open.
Don’t Hoard and Be Kind
Local stores are having a hard time keeping essentials on the shelves, such as toilet paper, hand soap, hand sanitizer and some meats and dairy products. Don’t take more than you need, and be kind to fellow shoppers and grocery store employees.
If You Develop Symptoms
If you develop symptoms similar to the novel coronavirus — dry cough, fever, shortness of breath — call your health care provider or emergency department before you arrive, to limit exposure. You must see a doctor before you can be prescribed a COVID-19 test.
You Don’t Have to Cook
It is still permitted for restaurants to serve food via drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery. Not all restaurants are still open, and many are changing their hours and/or menu as they are transitioning to not serving food in their dining rooms. The town of Flower Mound has created a helpful restaurant directory, listing every eatery in town that is open with their phone numbers, websites and services offered.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
If you do have questions not answered here, call Denton County Public Health’s hotline at 940-349-2585 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.