Dallas County Extends Safer At Home Order, But New State Announcement Forthcoming

It can be hard to keep up with the rapidly-changing news regarding the economy, health, schools, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some bullet points for today. 

  • Dallas County Extends Safer At Home Order, But New State Announcement Forthcoming
  • Gov. Abbott Provides Update On Job Openings, Resources For Texans Seeking Employment
  • Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas Added to SNAP Online Pilot Program
  • Dallas Announces Alphabetical Guidelines To Ease Congestion on Katy Trail
  • Dallas Regional Chamber Campaign to Connect Workers Impacted by COVID-19 to Jobs, Resources
Dallas County Extends Safer At Home Order, But New State Announcement Forthcoming

Dallas County commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the county’s safer-at-home order until May 15, according to the Dallas Morning News, but Governor Greg Abbott said in a press conference that he plans to make an announcement April 27 about next steps for re-opening the state economy that would supersede the local order if they conflict.

“To the extent that my executive order has statewide application, it would overrule any local jurisdiction,” Abbott said.

Jenkins said in his own press conference that he doesn’t believe the county’s order would conflict with potential forthcoming statewide changes.

He said he felt continuing some version of the stay-at-home order was important to continuing to slow the spread of the disease as the economy slowly re-opens.

“If we rush it, we ruin it,” Jenkins added.

Gov. Abbott Provides Update On Job Openings, Resources For Texans Seeking Employment

Gov. Greg Abbott April 21 provided an update on job openings in the state and outlined resources for Texans seeking employment because of the economic impacts of COVID-19. 

Abbott also announced nearly 500,000 job openings are listed on WorkInTexas.com, an online job matching and workforce solution system developed by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). This system provides access to a set of employment tools online where job seekers can browse job postings, find education and training, and complete resumes and state applications. 

Abbott also discussed additional resources available through the 28 local workforce development boards throughout the state. The local workforce solutions offices are available to employers of all sizes who can receive assistance in recruiting, identifying, and hiring qualified people. These services are available to both employers and job seekers at no cost.

Job seekers can visit Texas Economic Development and Tourism’s Texas Jobs page for links to all 28 local workforce development boards. The webpage also contains additional COVID-19 resources for employers and job seekers.

“As we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19, we are also working to alleviate the severe economic devastation that has impacted so many Texans,” said Abbott. “People are ready to get to work and earn a paycheck again, and the State of Texas is committed to connecting Texans with the many job opportunities that exist throughout the state. I thank the Texas Workforce Commission, our local workforce organizations, and businesses across the state who are working tirelessly to connect Texans with job openings during these challenging times.”

Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas Added to SNAP Online Pilot Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue April 21 announced approval of requests from Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas to provide online purchasing of food to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households. 

This will allow the states to expedite the implementation of online purchasing with authorized SNAP online retailers with a target start date to be announced at a later time. 

Texas’ SNAP participation is more than 3.2 million people, more than 1.4 million households, and totals nearly $5 billion annually in federal funding.

Dallas Announces Alphabetical Guidelines To Ease Congestion on Katy Trail

To manage the increasing number of Katy Trail users and encourage physical distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, Dallas Park and Recreation will implement a trail management strategy that gives visitors access to the trail on specific days according to their last names.

The public will have normal access to the Katy Trail on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

But beginning April 23, for the rest of the week and on the weekends, users whose last names begin with A through L are asked to use the Katy Trail only on Thursday and Saturday. Users whose last names begin with M through Z are encouraged to use the trail on Friday and Sunday.

The Dallas Park and Recreation Department worked with the Friends of Katy Trail to create this approach. Mayor Eric Johnson’s office and Park and Recreation also consulted with Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang regarding the guidelines.

“The Katy Trail is an incredible asset to our city, and I love that Dallas residents want to use it to get fresh air and exercise during these difficult and unprecedented times,”  Johnson said. “But I support the Park and Recreation Department’s approach to creating adequate physical distancing on the Katy Trail. We cannot allow this amenity to become a health hazard. We have to be willing to adjust our practices and behaviors and take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can save lives and get through these challenging times as quickly as possible.”

“We know that getting outdoors is another way for families to cope with stay-at-home regulations. Overcrowding and congestion on the Katy Trail make it nearly impossible for users to practice adequate physical distancing. Our communities’ safety remains our key concern. We are working together to reduce the spread on this pandemic,” said Dallas Park and Recreation Director John D. Jenkins. “We want our outdoor spaces to be accessible and we want visitors to do their part to protect themselves and others.”

Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to Serve as Ambassador for Dallas Regional Chamber Campaign to Connect Workers Impacted by COVID-19 to Jobs, Resources

Lastly, we end today’s digest with some helpful information for those suffering from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Dallas Regional Chamber April 20 announced Emmitt Smith will serve as the chief spokesman of its campaign to connect workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis to thousands of available jobs in the Dallas region. 

The NFL All-Time Rushing leader, who is also a DRC board member, will appear on billboards and in radio, television, and social media marketing for the DRC’s “Connecting Displaced Workers to Jobs” platform. 

 The online portal is on the DRC’s Say Yes to Dallas talent attraction campaign page and includes listings broken down by sector, including hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, food service, and warehouses. 

“Dallas has given me and my family so much throughout my career in football and in business,” said Smith. “Some of the very people who cheered so hard for me throughout my career in football are now the ones I’m rooting for to get back on their feet. I’m proud to play a part in bringing awareness to efforts of the DRC and partner organizations to help get the good people of North Texas back to work.”

The website offers listings for those who need:

  • leads for in-demand jobs;
  • access to online courses to upskill into high-demand, well-paying jobs;
  • childcare resources for parents involved in essential work; and
  • links to help workers to file for unemployment claims.

“There are few people in Dallas whose platform and voice better represent the kind of tenacity and positive spirit that we need to inspire hope right now,” said Dale Petroskey, DRC President and CEO. “The DRC is doing all we can to help our neighbors who are out of work through no fault of their own. Emmitt is the ideal partner to spread the word that better days are ahead and opportunities and resources are just a few clicks away.”

The postings are updated in real-time, and the DRC is working in partnership with the workforce boards of Greater Dallas, Tarrant County, and North Central Texas to reach employer opportunities. 

For nearly 40 years, People Newspapers has worked tirelessly to tell the stories—good, bad, and sublime—of our neighbors in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. To support our efforts, please contact [email protected] for advertising opportunities. Please also consider sharing this story with your friends and social media followers.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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