"Essential Businesses" Under the Dallas County Shelter-in-Place Order

March 23, 2020
"Essential Businesses" Under the Dallas County Shelter-in-Place Order

 Yesterday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a countywide shelter-in-place order. The "Stay Home Stay Safe" order, effective as of 11:59 p.m. on March 23, will continue through April 3. This Order requires all individuals anywhere in Dallas County to shelter in place – that is, to stay at home – except for certain essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services or perform essential public infrastructure construction.

Notably, all businesses operating within Dallas County, except “Essential Businesses,” are required to cease all activities at facilities located within Dallas County. All non-essential businesses are encouraged to continue performing activities at their home, and all Essential Businesses are required to comply with the six-foot social distancing guidelines provided in the Order.

For purposes of the Order, “Essential Businesses” means:

  • Essential Healthcare Operations – including:
    • Hospitals
    • Clinics
    • Dentists
    • Pharmacies
    • Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
    • “Other healthcare facilities”
    • Healthcare suppliers
    • Mental health providers
    • Substance abuse service providers
    • Blood banks
    • Medical research
    • Laboratory services
    • “Any related and/or ancillary healthcare services”
    • Home-based and residential-based care for seniors, adults, or children

Pursuant to the Order, “All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Dallas County. Hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental offices, and other medical facilities are directed to identify procedures that are deemed ‘elective’ by assessing which procedures can be postponed or cancelled based on patient risk considering the emergency need for redirection of resources to CVOID-19 response.”

Fitness and exercise gyms are expressly excluded from this category of businesses.

  • Essential Government Functions – including:
    • All services provided by local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  • Essential Critical Infrastructure – work necessary to 16 critical infrastructure sectors, including:
    • Public works construction
    • Residential and commercial construction
    • Airport operations
    • Water, sewer, gas, electrical, and oil refining
    • Roads and highways
    • Public transportation
    • Solid waste collection and removal
    • Internet and telecommunications systems
    • Financial institutions
    • Defense and national security-related operations
    • Essential manufacturing operations
  • Essential Retail – including:
    • Grocery stores
    • Warehouse stores
    • Big-box stores (Walmart, Target, etc.)
    • Liquor stores
    • Gas stations
    • Convenience stores
    • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, good or services directly to residences (Uber Eats, Favor, etc.)
    • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out
    • Laundromats, dry cleaning, and laundry service providers
    • Auto-supply stores
    • Hardware stores
    • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations – including:
    • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services
  • Essential Services Necessary to Maintain Essential Operations of Residences or Other Essential Businesses – including:
    • Trash and recycling collection
    • Mail and shipping services
    • Building cleaning and maintenance
    • Warehouse distribution and fulfillment
    • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and Essential Businesses
    • Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities
    • Businesses that supply other essential business “with the support of supplies needed to operate”
  • News Media – including:
    • Newspaper
    • Television
    • Radio
    • “Other media services”
  • Childcare Services – including:
    • Childcare facilities providing services that enable employees exempted in this Order to work as permitted

Under the terms of the Order, any business that do not meet the above criteria are considered non-essential and must cease operations in Dallas County pursuant to the Order.

Please do not hesitate to contact Simon Whiting directly at (214) 740-3119, if you need any assistance interpreting the Dallas County Stay Home Stay Safe Order and how it may affect your business.