Dallas County department heads declare ‘business as usual’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Published 4:45 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Dallas County Commission held a press conference Wednesday morning to inform the public of the measures the County is taking during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the globe.

Let’s not go into a mode of panic,” said Dallas County Commissioner Roy Moore. “We’ll get through this. We’ve gotten through everything else that has come before us… The road department will not shut down. It’s business as usual. We’re going to continue to maintain our road department as we have in the past.”

Moore ended is time at the podium at Wednesday’s conference by advising the citizens of Dallas County to “look out for your neighbor”, asking citizens to consider the elderly and those who live “paycheck-to-paycheck” before hoarding things like toilet paper at supermarkets.

“Let’s not blow this thing out of proportion,” said Moore. “Have some concern for your neighbor.”

Dallas County Sheriff Mike Granthum also said things would continue to run “business as usual” for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO).

“Just because we have a little virus coming through town doesn’t mean crime is going to stop,” said the Sheriff. “Our doors are going to be open.”

Granthum announced that, during the pandemic, the DCSO will temporarily suspend issuing pistol permits.

During this time, the Sheriff announced that the DCSO would also suspend charges and fines for expired pistol permits in Dallas County.

“I will tell you this, though,” added Granthum. “It’s on a county to county basis. If you travel to another county with an expired pistol permit you will be subject to their law.”

Granthum said the measure was enacted to limit contact.

The Sheriff added that the DCSO is limiting contact at the Dallas County Jail and at the Dallas County Courthouse as well.

Before entering either building, people will have their temperature taken.

“If your temperature is 100.4 [or higher], you aren’t coming in,” said the Sheriff.

“It’s to protect you guys,” said Granthum. “We’re asking the public to be patient with us. This is all for the protection of the public.”

Granthum ended his time at the podium by asking citizens to report any crime as usual and usurping the public that officers were out “in full force”.

Dallas County Attorney John Kelly briefly spoke on Gov. Kay Ivey’s changes to the Open Meeting Act in a proclamation issued on Wednesday.

Ivey’s proclamation allows public meetings to be conducted via telephone if necessary.

“There is probably no likelihood of that happening in the immediate future,” said Kelly. “But what it does provide for us is that in the event some of our members have to self-quarantine or, God forbid, come down with the virus, we could still have public meetings.”

Camp Perry Varner Juvenile Detention Center Director Marcus Hannah discussed measures the facility is taking to protect employees and juveniles.

Hannah said those who enter the facility are being temperature tested under the same guidelines as the Dallas County Jail and Dallas County Courthouse and that juveniles at the facility are being temperature tested twice per day in the morning and evening.

During the outbreak, the detention center has suspended parent visitation for juveniles, given juveniles three phone calls per week instead on one and pared down the facility’s staff to essential personnel.