Addressing the spread of COVID-19, Collin County has enacted a "stay at home/work safe" approach which stops short of the full shelter-in-place policy observed by Dallas and other major cities.
Collin County Judge Chris Hill said in a press conference on March 24 that cities in the county would observe a "work safe" program in which residents can still go to their offices and do essential tasks such as food shopping, but are not on full lockdown.
"I'm announcing new 'stay home work safe' measures in which residents should stay home except for travel to essential activities," Hill said. "To protect the financial wellbeing of our Collin County economy, it is critical that we keep people at work."
"All businesses, all jobs, and all workers are essential to the financial health of our local economy and therefore essential to the financial health and wellbeing of Collin County citizens," he said.
Hill said that all business and all employers should take all actions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including observing social distancing measures by keeping six feet away from others, avoiding mass gatherings, working from home if possible, and canceling large meetings where social distancing is not possible.
Hill allied financial viability with the county's "wellbeing."
"It's important to stay financially viable, and the only we can do that is continue to work," Hill said. "We want to strike a balanced approach between staying at home unless you're traveling for essential activities and every business is essential for our local economy, because our local economy represents financial wellbeing for residents who depend on us. We want to make sure we can stay open and do it safely."
One reporter asked Hill about clothes shopping, prompting him to respond that it's OK, as long as you are shopping "for essential clothes."
"If you are shopping for essential clothes that you need, then absolutely I would say that's a valid reason," he said. "If you are shopping for the latest styles this spring, I would ask you to stay home."
Collin County's approach follows that of Fort Worth and Tarrant County which Mayor Betsy Price announced at a conference on March 24. "Go to work, and then go home," she said.
By contrast, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins enacted a full lockdown on March 22, which restricts Dallas County residents from leaving their homes for anything but essential tasks. That does not include leaving home for work.
The city of Richardson followed suit on March 23 with the Richardson City Council voting unanimously to enact a shelter-in-place order. The city of Garland has also enacted a shelter-in-place order.