Editor’s note: This story will be updated periodically with details that apply to the Richardson community.
Updated at 10:37 p.m. March 25, 2020, with new coronavirus case numbers.
Richardson declared a local state of disaster last week to help contain and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are taking steps to ensure we continue to responsibly approach this situation in a way that is consistent with the CDC, North Texas region and neighboring cities,” Mayor Paul Voelker said. “The parameters of these safety precautions follow the advice of health professionals at all levels of government and I ask for everyone’s continued understanding and patience as we join the North Texas community in fighting the spread of this disease.”
The state of disaster will continue for at least one week, but Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to temporarily closing schools, restaurants, gyms and bars statewide continues until April 3, he said March 19.
The order limits social gatherings to fewer than 10 people and restricts people from visiting nursing homes and retirement centers unless they are providing “critical assistance,” he said. While dining-in at restaurants and bars will not be allowed, Abbott encouraged Texans to continue ordering food from local eateries for pick up or delivery.
Richardson’s declaration states that:
- Community gatherings of more than 50 people or recreational and social gatherings of 10 or more people are banned, and organizations that serve high-risk populations are urged to cancel gatherings.
- Restaurants can only provide takeout, delivery or drive-thru services as of midnight Wednesday.
- Bars, lounges, taverns, arcades and private clubs must close at midnight.
Areas of Richardson in Dallas County are under a shelter-in-place order issued Sunday by County Judge Clay Jenkins. It allows only “essential businesses,” such as grocery stores and health care facilities, to remain open.
For areas of Richardson in Collin County, residents have been ordered to stay home except for essential activities because of the coronavirus outbreak. The order went into place Tuesday, March 24, and will last seven days unless it’s renewed by the county’s Commissioners Court.
However, all businesses in the county are allowed to stay open during the order. Officials said this decision was made to keep local economies functioning. This is a major difference from Dallas County’s shelter-in-place order.
As of Thursday, Dallas County has reported 247 cases of the coronavirus, and Collin County 66. Richardson has nine.
A Richardson man in his 60s who was found dead in his home was determined to have had COVID-19. He had no high-risk or chronic health conditions, officials said. It was the second case reported in Richardson.
City closures and cancellations
Richardson has modified, delayed or canceled a series of programs, projects and services scheduled from mid-March through April 20.
On its website, the city invites residents who have questions to contact the appropriate department or program.
Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Road: All events are canceled. 972-744-4090, email@example.com
Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive: All events scheduled through April 30 have been cancelled or postponed. 972-744-4650, firstname.lastname@example.org
Richardson Library, 900 Civic Center Drive: The library building is closed to the public, but curbside book drop-off is available. 972-744-4350, email@example.com
Richardson Municipal Court, 2100 E Campbell Road: Jury trials are postponed. The court facility and the customer service area are open, and courtroom hearings and bench trials are continuing. 972-744-4500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Parks and Recreation: Through April 30, all Parks and Recreation programs, classes, athletic leagues, trips, camps and events are suspended or canceled. All Richardson Senior Center programs and activities are also canceled. There will be no recreation center and civic center reservations or rentals. 972-744-4300, email@example.com
Other canceled events include:
- Richardson Realtors Workshop (April 2)
- Trash Bash (April 11)
- Richardson Neighborhood Leadership Workshop (April 21)
Richardson ISD announced Monday that all schools will remain closed indefinitely. All school and district meetings, events and activities are also canceled or postponed, according to an announcement.
During an emergency meeting Tuesday, the school board voted to pay all district employees through the rest of the school year. The board also voted to provide meals for students who need them while schools are closed.
The district will continue online lessons via the recently issued electronic devices for students in grades 3-8, as well as lessons on the website for all students in grades kindergarten through 12, the announcement states. All students in grades Pre-K through 12 will be able to access learning materials at RISD.org. Additional information about the online learning plan will be sent to parents.
Richardson ISD is also working out the logistics of continuing to provide meal services for at-risk students. Plans are already in place for spring break. Additional information on the continuation of the meal program is expected later this week.
Parents are reminded to ensure their child’s school has a current and accurate email address. The school district will primarily use email for all communications in the event of further updates.
Additionally, the health department has reiterated that no Richardson ISD students nor staff members are among the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas County.
“It is with the utmost confidence that I tell you we are doing everything possible to reduce the amount of risk to students and staff," Superintendent Jeannie Stone said in a March 13 YouTube video. “As you know, their health is our highest priority.”
The superintendent previously asked the community to join her in behaving responsibly on social media and refraining from spreading rumors.
An email to the Richardson Pearce community said a network of community services is in desperate need of food and volunteers to help pack emergency bags of it. If you are interested or have questions, you can contact Robin Pampillonia-Hunt at 469-831-8044.
The RISD food pantry pickup will be at Carolyn Buckhair Elementary, 13900 Esparanza Road in Dallas on Tuesday, March 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. To drop off food, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other cancellations in Richardson ISD
SAT testing: The district will be working with the College Board to reschedule SAT testing that was set for March 14 at Richardson and Lake Highlands high schools.
Holiday Camp xPlore!: The event scheduled for the week of March 16-20 was canceled. Those who signed up will receive tuition refunds in 7 to 10 business days.
UIL: Effective March 16 through March 29, the UIL suspended all UIL games and events. Additional information is available on the UIL website.
The University of Texas at Dallas is extending spring break by a week, and classes will be canceled March 23-27. The school will use the next two weeks to prepare to conduct classes online, which will begin March 30. All campus events have been canceled, postponed or moved to an online-only format.