Follow Social Distancing In Parks Or Face Potential Citation in University Park

News regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and local response to it is coming quickly. Here is what you need to know today.

Follow Social Distancing Requirements In Parks Or Face Potential Citations In UP

There are people who aren’t following social distancing requirements in parks, so the city of University Park sent out notice via newsletter and social media April 1 that UP police officers can write citations for not adhering to the requirements.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an order March 22 requiring residents to shelter in place with the exceptions of engaging in essential activities or working at an essential business. The order also requires people to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others in shared outdoor spaces.

The city of University Park’s announcement reminded residents of the 6-foot-distance requirement, as well as of the requirements not to have group practices or games, not to have athletic training in groups, or use playground equipment in the parks.

University Park Assistant Police Chief Jim Savage said violating the orders would be a class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

However, “UPPD officers are not making vehicle stops to determine whether occupants are on the roadways for essential personal activities or essential business activities,” the announcement says.

Gov. Abbott Talks Federal COVID-19 Stimulus Package
Photo: office of the Governor

Governor Greg Abbott April 1 issued a statement about the recently passed $2 trillion federal stimulus package intended to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on unemployed workers and the state’s hardest-hit businesses.

“We appreciate the speedy passage of this stimulus package designed to provide much-needed relief for hardworking Texas families who have been economically impacted by COVID-19,” Abbott said. “While the state of Texas continues to take action to protect public health, we are also committed to working with our federal partners to ensure Texans have the financial relief they need during this time.” Abbott said the stimulus benefits workers who were furloughed, terminated, or who had their hours reduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A newly created Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) fund is the bill’s primary vehicle, allowing states to extend federally-funded unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks (past the usual 26 weeks). The fund also boosts weekly benefits for those laid off, terminated or furloughed because of the pandemic by $600 per week.

The measures also reduce paperwork and speed up the claims process by allowing employers to file one mass claim on behalf of all their employees who were laid off. It also eliminates any chargeback to Texas employers for claims filed because of the novel coronavirus.

Much like disaster unemployment assistance seen in past weather-related disasters, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) may be available for displaced workers not normally eligible for regular or extended benefits. Workers whose hours have been reduced because of the COVID-19-induced slowdown may qualify for work share, a federal short-term compensation program.

Employees whose work has been impacted by COVID-19, whether by a reduction in hours or a loss of their job, are encouraged apply for unemployment benefits online or call 1-800-939-6631. Employers can also utilize online filing for mass claims they file on behalf of employee groups who were laid off.

Abbott COVID-19 PSA

Abbott also released a video following his March 31 executive order requiring Texans to ‘minimize social gatherings and…minimize social contact with people who aren’t in the same household” except to provide or obtain essential services.

Giving Back To Healthcare Workers

Savor in Klyde Warren Park March 31 dropped off meals to healthcare staff at UT Southwestern so, as usual, we end today’s digest with a bit of gratitude and positivity.

Savor delivered meals to healthcare staff at UT Southwestern. Courtesy photo

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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