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Fort Worth coronavirus: Gatherings limited to 10, non-essential businesses must close

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Tarrant County and Fort Worth on Saturday announced further restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The county, in a news release, declared that all non-essential retail businesses, including malls, retail stores, tattoo shops, hair and nail salons, and massage parlors must close effective at 6 p.m. Saturday. Pick-up and delivery food services are still allowed.

Houses of worship must also close to the public, though church leaders may gather to facilitate online worship, the declaration says.

It is unclear when restrictions on places of worship will be enforced. County administrator G.K. Maenius said in a statement mayors and city managers were “truly encouraged” not to enforce the restrictions this Sunday.

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Gatherings of more than 10 people are banned regardless of the situation. A gathering is defined as “any indoor or outdoor event that brings together or is likely to bring together more than 10 people at the same time in a single space where people are present and within 6 feet of one another,” the declaration says.

“We cannot stress enough that Tarrant County residents practice social distancing where you stay at least 6 feet away from other individuals,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said. “You need to have sufficient space to have people be at least 6 feet apart. To whatever degree possible, we would encourage you to have sign-in logs to keep track of everyone you have come in contact with.”

Fort Worth will mirror the county’s mandate, code compliance director Brandon Bennett said. Fort Worth Latest News The city made a formal announcement Saturday evening, and Bennett said the city’s restrictions will be identical to the countywide declaration.




Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience and package stores, and other establishments that sell household goods will remain open. Plumbers, electricians, cleaners and other businesses that perform needed work will also be exempt.

“We know these are really hard requirements and many of you will be out of work,” Mayor Betsy Price said in her evening Facebook Live update. “Together we will shorten the term of this virus and put everyone back to work sooner.”

Day care facilities, medical facilities, nonprofit service providers, homeless and emergency shelters, office buildings, essential government buildings, airports and transit facilities, transportation systems, residential buildings and hotels, and manufacturing and distribution facilities can continue doing business as long as they enforce social separation, the county’s declaration says.

“We are going to keep tightening restrictions,” Bennett said. “There’s no indication this will end in seven days as we’ve just started to see community spread.”

The county’s declaration signed by Whitley states the restrictions will continue for seven days “unless continued or renewed by the Commissioners Court.”

Bennett said the mandate in Fort Worth Press Release Distribution Service was indefinite. The mayor can declare restrictions for seven days, and it is likely the city council will vote to extend them. During an emergency meeting Thursday, the city council extended the local disaster declaration through May 15.

The tighter restrictions came after Tarrant County officials confirmed 13 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday morning, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 42.

Of the 42 cases across Tarrant County, there have been 11 in Arlington, 11 in Fort Worth, three in Southlake, three in Mansfield and one or two in other cities across the county, according to the health department. Colleyville, Euless, Lakeside and North Richland Hills each reported two cases. Benbrook, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Keller, Watauga and White Settlement each reported one case.

There are 39 confirmed active cases of the coronavirus in the county, with two people who have recovered and one death.

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Source - https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article241400951.html

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