Parker: COVID-19 and a #StayAtHomeTexas State of Mind

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State Rep. Tan Parker

Without question, the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the health and wellbeing of millions of Texans, and its spread is a catalyst trying to stall our mighty economic engine.  However, as Texans, we must be prepared and not panicked. Together, we can work to stop the spread of COVID-19 and put our great state back on track.  The power lies within all of us, as the most important act we can do is adhere to the Centers for Disease (www.cdc.gov) controls recommendations and please follow the Stay-At-Home emergency declaration issued for Denton County issued by Judge Andy Eads (www.dentoncounty.gov).

While these restrictions conflict with our Texas way of life, remember, these are temporary measures fully intended to save lives, including your own, and restore our vibrant business communities.

As we mitigate the impact of the virus, it is natural to focus on the unknowns.  But, Texas has always been a beacon of hope and a land of great opportunity, and that grit to overcome remains our calling.  We’ll get through this crisis as Texans know how to do.  And as we navigate these new waters together, we will also see the spirit of kindness, compassion, innovation, and collaboration, which is firmly embedded as the bedrock of our success as a state and community.

I urge you to stay informed through reputable sources like this newspaper and be careful of social media medical advice and scams meant to play on your fears, pocketbook, or sound judgment.

One important resource for information is the Office of Governor Greg Abbott. Since issuing a Declaration of Disaster on March 13, the Governor has enacted many waivers to lift regulatory burdens to allow for expedited actions during this crisis. There have been many positive changes to help our citizens ranging from increased access to healthcare services, improvements to the Texas Workforce Commission, cancellation of STAAR Testing for the 2019-2020 school year, the availability of Small Business Administration disaster assistance loans, and much needed meals for Texas students.

The Governor is also ensuring Texas receives federal disaster relief grants to rapidly fight COVID-19 while also doing everything in our power to help one another as Texans. I encourage you to stay informed about these daily announcements at gov.texas.gov/news.

Texans are also rolling up their sleeves to help. You see it every day with our first responders, healthcare providers, and manufacturing plants to workers within our grocery stores, restaurants, delivery services, non-profits and so many different areas. Our school districts are keeping education flowing through virtual connections and making sure students do not go hungry, including driving into economically disadvantaged areas to deliver meals and encouragement.

Yet, there is a need within Texas for supplies, services and equipment, which leverages our private-public partnerships and drives innovation.  If you have an ability to assist with critical equipment and supplies, alternate care sites and infection control products or if you have sites, products or equipment available for the state to consider procuring, please visit www.texas.gov/#covid19.  You will find great informational resources as well as links to aid fellow Texans in this time of need.

Just recently, I was thrilled to lead an innovative effort with Governor Abbott, the Texas Restaurant Association, and the Department of State Health Services to allow restaurants to sell bulk foods directly to the public across Texas.  An idea that all began with a local resident and restaurateur in House District 63!

Workers across Texas are feeling the terrible impact of COVID-19, and one of the hardest hit industries is restaurants, especially many local independent operations. By upholding safety standards and providing a crucial avenue to keep food products readily available, this strong partnership will be instrumental in keeping Texans fed while also protecting jobs.  I am thrilled to see this action being taken which addresses the livelihood of Texas farmers and ranchers with our restaurants, their employees, and supply chains. You can learn more at the Department of State Health Services (www.dshs.texas.gov) and Texas Restaurant Association (www.txrestaurant.org).

The stories of Texas will continue to unfold every day, and Texans will rise up to overcome. I believe that with every great challenge, we also have great opportunity.  Yet, it cannot happen if we don’t recognize the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus and its cruel impact.  Our fastest route to end this cycle will be to flatten the curve; therefore, we must minimize the ways it is transmitted.

Despite the incredible changes and hardships, if we support one another, we will certainly come out of this crisis even stronger.

Always know, my services remain available to you for questions or new ideas to serve our fellow Texans so please never hesitate to call 972.724.8477 or email [email protected]. You can also find me online at www.tanparker.com.  It is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I look forward to staying in touch!

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