These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.

Reopening Texas Updates

On April 24, 2020, Governor Abbott announced a new wave of changes to expand the process to re-open the state. The stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire at the end of the month, which will allow businesses to begin reopening in May. 

In Phase 1, which begins today, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. Museums and libraries will also be allowed to open at 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed. Reopenings are optional; businesses can choose to stay closed if they wish. Abbott’s order supersedes local orders saying those businesses must remain closed. Churches and places of worship are allowed to expand their services, and doctors and dentists offices may begin seeing patients. Outdoor sports with 4 or less participants can also resume activities.

Certain businesses will remain closed for the time being, including barbershops, hair salons, bars and gyms. Abbott hopes those businesses can open in mid-May.

The Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas has released an Open Texas Report that details the state’s processes to reopen the state and keep Texans safe. The report includes guidelines for individuals, employers and employees, Texans over 65, efforts to increase testing, and more. The full report can be accessed here.

Statewide COVID-19 Test Collection Online Map

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have launched an online COVID-19 test collection map to help Texans locate test collection sites within their community. The interactive map displays detailed information on public and private mobile, walk-in, and drive-thru test collection sites around the state. A search feature allows Texans to locate test collection sites near them and includes important details such as contact information and hours of operation for each location. You can find the map here.

Free COVID-19 Testing Center in Carrollton

TDHCA Secure Financial Housing Assistance

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) today announced that Texas will provide HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) to Texans experiencing housing challenges due to COVID-19. A portion of TDHCA funds will be used to help families and individuals with up to 100% of the cost of rent, security deposit payments and utility bills for tenants affected by loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Individuals needing assistance should visit Help for Texans to search for rental assistance providers in their area. Simply click Long Term Rent Payment Help, enter the city or county, and click on the Find Help button.

“Safe to Work and Shop” Kits for Carrollton Small Businesses

In partnership with Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, the City of Carrollton will distribute “Safe to Work and Shop” startup kits designed to help small businesses reopen while striving to keep employees and customers safe. The kits will include items such as masks, hand sanitizer, floor clings encouraging social distancing, information resources available to small businesses, and more.

The Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce will be distributing the kits to local businesses beginning this week. If you are a small business owner interested in a kit, send an email to info@metrocrestchamber.com with your business name, address, and contact information.

No Kid Hungry Texas Resources

No Kid Hungry Texas has been supporting school districts and community organizations working to provide meals to vulnerable children throughout the state. Carrollton Farmers Branch ISD is using a NKH emergency grant to distribute food supplies from 30 school sites, totaling an estimated 8,000 meals a day.

No Kid Hungry recently launched a texting service to let parents know about emergency food distribution sites in their community. Texas families can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 and share their address. The response will then populate with the closest sites and meal times.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Announce Free

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be offering a series of free online trainings for child care providers and parents who are either in need of, or who will be providing care for, children of essential employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first three trainings 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. Trainings will also address topics such as 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.

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