We know there’s a lot of information out there, so we gathered our top coronavirus coverage for you. The resources below will help you navigate how to get help if you live in the D-FW area and you’ve been affected by COVID-19.
This story has been updated as new information becomes available.
Navigating each phase of reopening in Texas
Phase I of reopening began April 30 for some businesses in Texas. Originally malls, stores, restaurants, movie theaters were able to open at 25% on May 1, though barber shops, hair salons, massage parlors and gyms were told to wait until mid-May, Gov. Greg Abbott declared.
A week later, Abbott issued an order that allowed salons, barbershops, and pools to reopen, providing they maintain social distancing and 25% capacity.
This phase began May 18 and initially allowed office workers, manufacturing services and gyms to reopen. Abbott announced additional openings and said restaurants that opened at 25% capacity in Phase I could now open at 50%. See what was included in Abbott’s Executive Order.
Under Phase III, effective June 3, all businesses in Texas are able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Abbott’s Executive Order allowed for restaurants to expand their occupancy levels to 75%. Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 were also able to open at 50% capacity.
Executive Order 28
Faced with increasing coronavirus cases in Texas, Abbott dialed back some reopening plans outlined in Phase III of Texas’ plan to reopen the economy. Effective June 26, he closed bars, ordered restaurants to return to 50% capacity, shut river-rafting outfits, and gave local officials more control over large gatherings ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
Executive Order 29
With increasing cases, Abbott’s latest executive order, effective July 3, requires wearing face masks statewide in Texas counties having 20 or more confirmed cases, with some exceptions. Abbott also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people. Read the six things you need to know about the order here.
Have more questions about reopening Texas? Find answers here.
Dallas County’s return to “normal”
To help guide Dallas County residents on how — and when — they can safely participate in a wider range of activities, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has turned to a color-coded chart.
Created by public health, epidemiology and infectious-disease experts, the chart has four risk zones: red, orange, yellow and green. The red zone recommends the most precautions. Restrictions are gradually eased with each level. The goal is to reach the green zone, or the “new normal” once a vaccine is available. We broke down what each zone means.
Information on Dallas County’s latest COVID-19 response can be found at dallascounty.org/covid-19/.
Where the virus is spreading in Texas and how to get tested
We built a map of new cases, updated daily, so you can see Texas cases, county by county. The figures are gathered from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Common symptoms include fever, dry cough and fatigue. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous cases of coronavirus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find answers to key questions here.
If you are starting to show symptoms of COVID-19, it’s important to know where you can get tested. Dallas County has set up multiple sites that can provide tests. Find a test site in North Texas if you are concerned you may have the coronavirus.
Criteria for drive-thru testing
- People with symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection, including: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea or sore throat; OR
- Anyone 65 or older; OR
- Anyone with chronic health issues (diabetes, asthma, heart issues, etc.); OR
- Any first responders, DART drivers, healthcare workers, grocery store and essential retail store workers; OR
- People without symptoms who have been actively engaged in large group settings, such as public gatherings or congregations of people, within the past 15 days.
Test sites in Texas
The Department of State Health and Human Services created a comprehensive map of test sites available throughout the state of Texas.
If you are unable to see the map above, click here.
What to do if you have coronavirus
There is still no vaccine or specific treatment for the disease. The advice is the same for people who test positive for COVID-19 as it is for those who are showing symptoms of the virus: Stay home until you’re no longer at risk of spreading it to others. If your symptoms are severe, you should seek medical attention.
Donations, shelters, and fundraisers
The pandemic has put a financial and operational strain on hundreds of thousands of North Texans. Here are some organizations and fundraisers providing help or in need of donations or volunteers to support people in crisis.
- The North Texas Food Bank mobile pantry is operating at Fair Park, and other locations, to distribute free food to those in need. Meal pickups will be available only to people with vehicles, to comply with social-distancing requirements. People without cars can use the “Find Food” tool on ntfb.org to find additional resources.
- The Texas Education Agency has created the Texas Students MealFinder Map to help people locate schools that are serving meals. The map includes a list of schools, their addresses and service times.
- The Salvation Army of North Texas is operating 13 drive-through grocery service locations in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant counties to support families experiencing a loss in income or lowered wages. Find a list of drive-through grocery service locations and hours of operations on their site.
- Dallas County Health and Human Services Older Adult Services Program is providing meals delivered to homebound seniors. There is a drive-through for hot meal pick-up service set up at each senior center location. Seniors needing these resources can call 214-819-1860 to enroll.
Though space is limited, there are shelters providing beds for people in need. Masks and social distancing are required at most locations. The Homeless Shelter Directory lists multiple locations in the Dallas area.
For North Texas immigrants
Left out of government aid programs, unauthorized workers are getting help during the coronavirus pandemic from grassroots groups. Here are some resources for workers and their families.
The U.S. and Texas governments are providing economic relief to as many people as possible. Resources are available at the local, state, and national level for individuals and businesses. For information on the U.S. government’s response to COVID-19, click here.
The Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion package aimed at blunting the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deal includes direct payments to many American families, along with money for hospitals and states, low-cost loans to small businesses and a torrent of cash and loans to airlines.
To check the status of your payment, go to irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
What to do if you’re faced with unemployment
Texans applying for benefits are encouraged to call the Texas Workforce Commission’s toll-free number at 1-800-939-6631 or apply online. Call centers are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The Texas Workforce Commission has updated resources available online for jobseekers. Those looking for work in Texas are encouraged to visit www.workintexas.com.
Local housing assistance
To prevent a housing crisis, Dallas County implemented a moratorium on evictions through August. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins implored Gov. Greg Abbott to implement a similar statewide moratorium, but Abbott did not agree. Applications for an Emergency Housing Assistance Program will also be available through July 9 for low-income residents outside Dallas.
If your business is struggling
Congress approved an extension for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help businesses struggling because of the coronavirus epidemic. Small-business owners may find out more on the SBA website. Here are tips to secure funding for your business.
Additional resources for Texas businesses can be found at gov.texas.gov/business/page/coronavirus.
If you are dealing with mental health challenges during this time
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services launched a hotline specifically for those struggling with depression or similar concerns related to the pandemic.
The phone number for the state health department “COVID-19 mental health support line,” which is staffed around the clock, is 833-986-1919. The hotline connects callers to counseling services that are confidential and free of charge, according to the department.
Additional resources can be found at the state mental health and substance abuse website.
For additional questions you may need answered
The city of Dallas has launched a new COVID-19 resource and information hotline that is available 24/7. Residents can reach the automated line at 214-670-4636. Dallas officials say the hotline includes local and federal information regarding COVID-19 available in English and Spanish. For Texas’ hotline, dial 2‑1‑1, then choose Option 6 or email email@example.com.
Dealing with crime or workplace hazards
Filing a police report
The Dallas Police Department is asking residents to file some police reports online to limit face-to-face interaction between officers and the public. Residents can fill out a report at dallaspolice.net. Click “File a Police Report Online.”
The types of incidents to be reported online are car accidents, burglary of a coin machine, burglary of a motor vehicle, credit/debit card abuse, criminal mischief (damage under $2,500), graffiti (damage under $2,500), harassing phone calls, identity theft, lost property, reckless damage, theft (under $2,500), theft of service (under $2,500) and shoplifting (under $2,500).
If you feel unsafe going to work
To report a safety or health hazard at your workplace, call the 24-hour, toll-free number, for Texas Workers’ Compensation at 800-452-9595, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Dallas County also has an online form to report work place violations or safety concerns.
What’s closed, what’s open?
Schools, colleges, entertainment and athletic events have all been put on pause. Here’s a list of coronavirus-related closures in the D-FW area.
Restaurants continue service while bars remain closed
Many restaurants quickly adapted to drive-through, delivery and to-go options when businesses were forced to close. While many restaurants remain open, Abbott’s latest orders closed bars. Some Texas leaders voiced that dining rooms should close too. If you are still wary of dining out at a restaurant, here are 200-plus D-FW restaurants offering drive-through, delivery and to-go options.
The show can’t always go on, especially during a global pandemic. The list of canceled or postponed events fluctuates daily as regulations limit the number of people allowed at gatherings.
The sports world has also been impacted. First came the NBA, then NHL, then pretty much every other sport. It’s looking like we won’t get to watch our favorite teams play for a while. Stay up to date on sports changes here. Already had tickets? If you want to know how refunds for Dallas-area sports will be issued, click here.
In your neck of the woods
We’re also providing updated coverage in some of the major cities around Dallas Fort-Worth. Follow along to see new cases, plus what’s closed or canceled in your area.
Answers to your biggest questions
- Who has to wear a mask?
- Does wearing a mask cause other illnesses?
- What if I can’t wear a mask because of a medical condition?
- What if I need to see a doctor?
- Where can I get tested for antibodies?
- What is contact tracing and am I able to do it myself?
- Can I mail in a ballot to vote?
- Can I still get unemployment benefits?
- How soon until there’s a vaccine?
- What you need to know about coronavirus.
- Curious Texas answers some of your COVID-19 questions.
For the latest information, check out the CDC’s website, as well as the World Health Organization’s site. Looking for more coverage? Read the latest on how the virus is affecting North Texas and beyond. Your support means everything to us. Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter for daily updates or consider becoming a subscriber.
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