Plano City Council voted Tuesday evening to extend its state of emergency until the end of April, ordering the closure of in-person dining at restaurants and bars, lounges, and private clubs, as well as schools, movie theaters, and gyms.

The council also recommended restaurants with takeout services to utilizes those services in light of the in-person dining ban.

“It’s hard to imagine that a week ago, we were in D.C. at a restaurant and having a meal together and visiting the White House,” Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere told council members in a mostly empty council chamber. “And since then, the world has changed dramatically. You can see it from our seating here and the purposeful social distancing.

“And the moment that we are in is calling for extreme action. And we’re seeing that across the country and certainly locally.”

On Tuesday, Plano city officials recommended a 7-day public health emergency declaration. LaRosiliere said extending the declaration allows city officials the time they need to respond to coronavirus outbreak.

Collin County currently has 9 positive cases of COVID-19.

Plano’s current move comes at a time when other cities are declaring state of emergencies and doing their best to contain the outbreak, which is now affecting all 50 states.

Local Profile has put together a post of closures and other moves that affect people in North Texas. It will be updated as more news from the area breaks.

Plano city officials’ decisions follows in the steps of President Trump’s recommendations on Monday to avoid bars, restaurants, and food courts and limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus, and we’re going to have a big celebration all together,” Trump told reporters at a Monday morning press conference.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, council members approved several recommendations that will remain active until April 27. Those recommendations include:

  1. Pursuant to Government Code §418.108(d), the City of Plano Emergency Management Plan shall remain active through the duration of this disaster declaration.
  2. Pursuant to Government Code §418.020(d), the City of Plano is authorized to: (1) temporarily or permanently acquire by lease, purchase, or other means sites required for installation of temporary housing units, emergency shelters or public health facilities for disaster victims; and (2) enter into arrangements necessary to prepare or equip the sites to use the housing units, emergency shelters or public health facilities, including arrangements for the purchase of temporary housing units, emergency shelters or public health facilities and the payment of transportation charges.
  3. Pursuant to Section 122.006 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the City of Plano is authorized to adopt rules to protect the health of persons in the City of Plano, including quarantine rules to protect its residents against communicable disease and provide for the establishment of quarantine stations, emergency hospitals, and other hospitals.
  4. All public, private, and commercial labs within the City of Plano are encouraged to report the number of COVID-19 tests conducted on a daily basis to the City of Plano.
  5. It is recommended that large gatherings be restricted throughout the City of Plano in accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  6. The City of Plano will activate the Emergency Operations Center and will operate during normal business hours.
  7. All Parks and Recreation facilities are closed until March 27th at which time the closure will be re-assessed and may be extended at the discretion of the City Manager.
  8. All Library facilities are closed until March 27th at which time the closure will be reassessed and may be extended at the discretion of the City Manager.
  9. All City Board and Commission meetings, with the exception of Plano City Council, Planning and Zoning and any other meeting required by law, will be postponed for the duration of this disaster declaration.
  10. All youth sports leagues will be suspended through March 27th for practice and play at which time the closure will be reassessed and may be extended at the discretion of the City Manager.
  11. All citizens are encouraged to watch City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings online rather than attend in person. For City Council meetings people can submit comments of public interest or comments on agenda items electronically to the City of Plano at CouncilComments@plano.gov. For Planning and Zoning meetings people can submit comments of public interest and/or comments on agenda items electronically to the City of Plano at PZComments@plano.gov.
  12. All meetings at the Plano Event Center, Special Events, and Facility rentals through March 27th will be cancelled and offered refunds of deposit and/or fees for events and cancellations/refunds may be extended at the discretion of the City Manager.
  13. That this declaration hereby orders that a restaurant with or without drive-in or drive through services; drive-in restaurant; drive-through restaurant; or microbrewery, micro-distillery, or winery may only provide take out, delivery, or drive-in or drive- through services as allowed by law. This restriction is in effect until April 27, but may be revisited or repealed by the Mayor or City Council at an earlier date.
  14. That this declaration hereby orders the closure of a bar, lounge, or tavern; theater; gym; and private club. This restriction is in effect until April 27, but may be revisited or repealed by the Mayor or City Council at an earlier date.

City council members didn’t take their move lightly, and are well aware of how it will affect the community.

“This virus isn’t like the viruses we see in flu season,” Council member Rick Grady said. “It is significantly different, and its reaction to the community and to us is significantly different. We need to respond to this, and we need to respond to it very vigorously if we’re going to prevent a lot of illness within our community.

“I understand that there will be significant hardships when it happens. I also think there would be significant hardships if it didn’t happen and probably more so.”

Christian McPhate

Christian McPhate has been working as a journalist for more than decade. He enjoys tackling true crime stories and late night writing sessions. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including...

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