Enjoying Alcohol-To-Go? Gov. Abbott Says It Could Be Here To Stay

As the state moves slowly toward re-opening the economy today, it can be difficult to keep informed about the new information and guidance. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • Enjoying Alcohol-To-Go? Gov. Abbott Says It Could Be Here To Stay
  • NEO Services Offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing
  • Abbott Temporarily Allows For Appearance Before Notary Public Via Videoconference For Real-Estate Instruments
  • Highlighting First Responders, Healthcare Workers

Enjoying Alcohol-To-Go? Gov. Abbott Says It Could Be Here To Stay

As some restaurants across the state prepare to open Friday with limited occupancy, those restaurants that have offered alcohol-to-go sales can continue to do so, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and Gov. Greg Abbott.

“From what I hear from Texans, we may just let this keep on going forever,” Abbott said in a tweet.

The TABC also posted the following guidelines:

Restaurant Dine-In Services

NEO Services Offering COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Dallas-based NEO Services LLC, which offers national laboratory testing and diagnostics, is offering COVID-19 antibody testing at its Dallas lab.

NEO’s mobile, drive-up lab is located at 2110 Research Row.

The test measures the presence of antibodies in the blood in response to COVID-19.

The finger-stick test is administered through the car window, and results are available in less than 20 minutes. Testing is available from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday – Friday and costs $75 for the general public. First responders and frontline healthcare workers can get the test at a discounted rate of $35.

The test is not subsidized by any local or federal funding.

For organizations that want to have their employees and staff tested, NEO can conduct on-site screenings.

“With our country trying to get back to work as quickly as possible, the community should know this test is an option. Knowing the antibody status of employees could be important information to help a company, retail operation, or organization decide if it can safely restart business. An employee who tests positive for the antibodies that fight COVID-19 has at least some immunity to the current strain of COVID-19 and therefore it may be potentially safer for them to return to work. These results could enable Texans who are at lower risk to return to work sooner,” said Colleen Payne, founder and COO of NEO Services Labs and MCI Diagnostic Center, as well as a consultant to the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “In addition, the antibody tests can determine who is a good candidate to donate plasma to assist in treating critically ill patients who are suffering from COVID-19, which can help with the recovery process.”

Abbott Temporarily Allows For Appearance Before Notary Public Via Videoconference For Real-Estate Instruments
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas economy at a press conference in the capitol on April 17, 2020. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/POOL via The Texas Tribune)

Abbott announced April 29 that he suspended a statute regarding appearance before a notary public to acknowledge real-estate instruments such as mortgages. 

The suspension temporarily allows for appearance before a notary public via videoconference when executing such documents, avoiding the need for in-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conditions that will apply whenever this suspension is invoked can be found here.

“Texas is providing flexibility in the notarization process by way of this temporary suspension to ensure Texans can continue to stay home as much as possible to keep themselves and others safe,” said Abbott. “Allowing for appearance before a notary public via videoconference will aid in our continued efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health.”

This suspension will remain in effect until the earlier of May 30, or until the March 13 disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Documents executed while the suspension is in effect, and in accordance with its terms, will remain valid after the suspension ends.

In addition, Abbott and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service also announced April 29 a series of free online training sessions for childcare providers and parents.

The first three training sessions are available on Texas A&M AgriLife’s online learning platform

Additional free training sessions will be rolled out incrementally and will address health and safety guidelines, practices for staffing, essential materials for child care operations, developmentally appropriate activities, adult-child interactions, and more. 

The training session will also address topics like emergency management planning, stress management, and self-care for caregivers, planning at-home activities for children, parent-child communication, and supporting children’s emotional needs. 

“AgriLife Extension has long been a leader in providing practical, research-based, objective information to the people of Texas so we are very well positioned to help them address various aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said AgriLife Extension director Jeff Hyde, Ph.D. “I’m proud that we were able to develop these trainings to help support the Texas Frontline Child Care Task Force in providing important information and assistance to essential employees and their children during this difficult time.”

“In my role leading the Frontline Child Care Task Force and as chair of the Texas A&M Board of Regents, I knew the people in AgriLife Extension not only had the knowledge and expertise needed to develop these online trainings, they also had credibility with child care providers,” said Texas Frontline Child Care Task Force Chair Elaine Mendoza. “I asked Dr. Stephen Green, head of AgriLife Extension’s Family and Community Health Unit, to put together a team of early childhood experts from his agency and any state agencies that could advise and support them in developing a series of trainings.”

Highlighting First Responders, Healthcare Workers
Reunion Tower and the Dallas skyline. Photo: Joseph Haubert

Lastly, to end today’s digest, we spotlight a way Dallas is recognizing first responders and sharing uplifting messages.

Reunion Tower debuted a light show series this week that does just that.

Tuesday’s ‘thin lines’ show recognized police, firefighters, EMS, and dispatchers.

Tonight’s ‘cheer and clap’ show be in keeping with the #LightItBlue theme to continue to cheer on frontline workers.

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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