Community Testing Sites Reach Testing Limit, Dallas Closes Dog Parks, More Park Amenities

News is moving fast and furious right now, and a lot happens throughout the day. Here are some quick bullet points on what has happened recently.

Community Test Sites Reach Limit

The two community drive-through testing sites in the area, parking lot E at the American Airlines Center and the Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 S. Polk Street, reached their respective federal testing limit of 250 tests, per site per day March 24, according to the city of Dallas.

Both sites resume testing at 8 a.m.

Those experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, and a temperature of 99.6 or higher are eligible for tests at either site.

Medical City Healthcare, for their part, began providing COVID-19 testing for hospital patients only beginning at 5 p.m. March 24. (Note: Those with a doctor’s note are being directed to one of the drive-thru sites in North Texas).

Dallas Closes Dog Parks, Recreational Amenities; Trails, Parks Remain Open

The Dallas Parks and Recreation Department announced March 24 that city dog parks and park recreational amenities, including water fountains, restrooms, open-play tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, and soccer mini-pitch courts, are closed.

City officials say trails and parks will remain open, but only non-restricted turf areas and greenspaces in parks will be available to visitors.

While at the parks, city officials are urging residents to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet between people. Park Rangers will monitor parks and trails to ensure visitors comply with the social distancing requirement.

Earlier this month, the department closed city-operated recreation centers, golf courses, tennis centers, athletic fields, and park playgrounds and canceled scheduled activities and special events. Department organized programs including athletic fields reservations and organized play were suspended.

“Unfortunately, we cannot allow the risk of further transmission from normal play occurring at tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts within our parks. These recreational activities allow for individuals to gather and involve close contact and touching of a surface that may be a source of contamination,” said John D. Jenkins, Dallas Park and Recreation Interim Director. “This is the last measure we can take to implement additional social distancing requirements,” he said..

The city announced March 20 that all libraries and neighborhood cultural centers, in addition to the recreation centers, athletic fields, golf courses, tennis centers, and playgrounds were closed to the public indefinitely. Dallas Public Library staff will be answering phones and responding to customer emails. Deadlines for all borrowed library materials have been extended to April 30, 2020 and will be extended further as necessary.

The department is bringing Rec@Home  to families online.

Gov. Abbott Authorizes Restaurants To Sell Bulk Retail Product From Distributors To The Public

Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 24 that he directed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue guidance allowing restaurants to sell bulk retail products from restaurant supply chain distributors directly to consumers provided that such foods are in their original condition, packaging, or presented as received by the restaurant.

Under this guidance, restaurants will be able to sell items like packaged meat, fruit and vegetables, and dry goods directly to the public to prepare and eat at home.

These bulk food items would be available for purchase through restaurants offering drive-through, delivery, pick-up, or curbside service.

“A vital part of our COVID-19 response is to ensure that there are readily available supplies of food and resources, whether that is at grocery stories, or, in this case, restaurants,” Abbott said. “This guidance gives Texans another easily accessible option to buy the food they need to support their families. The state of Texas continues to work with distributors, retailers, and restaurants to ensure they have the support they need to continue providing for Texans. I thank Rep. Tan Parker, the Texas Restaurant Association, and the Department of State Health Services for their collaboration to take this important step to help Texas families as our state responds to COVID-19.”


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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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