Dallas Council Meets Wednesday, Allred Holds Telephone Town Hall

News is moving fast and furious right now, and a lot happens throughout the day. We thought we’d give some quick bullet points on what has happened in the past 24 hours.

Dallas Council to Meet Today, Mayor Forms Two Committees

The Dallas City Council is due to meet at 9 a.m. to discuss the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be live-tweeting that meeting at twitter.com/phpeople.

Tuesday evening, Mayor Eric Johnson announced two new ad-hoc committees to begin preparing to help businesses and citizens deal with the issues surrounding the city’s response to the outbreak.

One will deal with economic recovery and assistance. Johnson has placed council members Paula Blackmon, Casey Thomas, Tennell Atkins, Adam Bazaldua, Lee Kleinman, Adam Medrano, and Chad West on that committee, with Blackmon and Thomas as co-chairs.

The second committee will address human social recovery and assistance. Adam McGough and Cara Mendelsohn will co-chair, with Carolyn King Arnold, David Blewett, Jennifer Staubach Gates, Omar Narvaez, and Jaime Resendez also serving.

Colin Allred to Hold Telephone Town Hall Tonight

Congressman Colin Allred will host a telephone town hall and briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. Allred will be joined by health experts to answer questions about the response to the coronavirus.

Allred will be joined by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins; Dr. Philip Huang, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services; Dr. Trish M. Perl, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Dr. Mark Casanova, the president of Dallas County Medical Society to discuss the latest on the coronavirus and resources for the public.

The town hall will begin at 6:30 p.m. To listen and RSVP, go to allred.house.gov/live.

Dallas Closes Playgrounds, Golf Courses, Tennis Centers

Dallas Park and Recreation announced Tuesday that it would be closing playgrounds, golf courses and tennis centers until further notice.

While use of playground equipment is restricted, open air use of parks and trails will remain open.

Dallas ISD Reports First Coronavirus Case

Dallas ISD reported its first case of COVID-19 – a student at JL Long Middle School who was ill Friday at school, but was contained primarily in the school nurse’s office, according to a letter sent to parents.

The student was sent home immediately, and no teacher was in the close contact group. Dallas County Health and Human Services is tracking the student’s path of contacts for that day, and will contact anyone they determine may have had close contact.

The student is at home and “doing well,” and the school has been sanitized.

Dallas ISD Cancels All Bond Meetings and Events

Dallas ISD canceled all bond community meetings and bond-related events scheduled the week of March 23-March 28.

The cancellations include the Saturday, March 28, ribbon-cutting at Hillcrest High School, the Bond 2020 community meetings and the community conversations hosted by the Racial Equity Office.

The district also outlined payroll and paid leave information for staffers.

Abbott Activates National Guard, Requests SBA Disaster Declaration

On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott activated the Texas National Guard to be prepared to assist with response efforts for COVID-19.

“This preparative measure will ensure that the Texas National Guard can assist in various forms throughout the state when needed,” the announcement said. “Healthcare workers and first responders who are members of the Texas National Guard are excluded from this activation so that they can continue serving the people of Texas in their respective fields.”

“By activating the Texas National Guard, we are ensuring Texas is prepared as we continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Abbott. “I am grateful to the men and women of the National Guard for their dedication to serving their fellow Texans, and want to assure the public that this is a precautionary measure to make sure the Texas National Guard has the capability to serve at a moment’s notice where they are needed most.”

Abbott also requested designation from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Declaration in order to access the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the entire state of Texas. If granted, the SBA would provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state.

“At a time when small businesses are hurting from the economic impact of COVID-19, the State of Texas is committed to helping these businesses receive the financial relief they need to continue operating,” Abbott said. “That is why today I requested that the U.S. Small Business Administration implement a declaration to provide SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for the entire state of Texas.”

All small businesses who believe they may be eligible for an SBA EIDL should visit the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) website: https://tdem.texas.gov/covid-19/. They will be directed to the SBA website where they can apply for assistance.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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