Governor Abbott Expands Capacity For Certain Services In 

Texas, Announces Guidance For Nursing Home, Long-Term 

Care Visitations

September 17, 2020 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference to provide an update on the state's ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. During the press conference, the Governor issued Executive Orders expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries, and re-authorizing elective surgeries for a majority of the state of Texas. The Governor also announced new guidance related to visitations at nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state.

In addition, the Governor implemented the use of reliable, data driven hospitalization metrics used by doctors and medical experts to help guide the state’s ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 and expand occupancy for businesses and services. This metric focuses on areas with high hospitalizations — referring to any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients exceeds 15%, until such time as the TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of all hospitalized patients is 15% or less. A current list of areas with high hospitalizations will be maintained at

Using this metric, 19 of the 22 TSAs in Texas qualify to increase occupancy levels to 75% for restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms, exercise facilities and classes, museums, and libraries beginning September 21st. In addition, these 19 TSAs can also resume elective surgeries. Three of the 22 TSAs (S-Victoria, T-Laredo, and V-Lower Rio Grande Valley) must remain at 50% occupancy and continue postponing elective surgeries until the hospitalization metric requirements are met. These three TSAs contain the following counties: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria, Jim Hogg, Webb, Zapata, Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy.

"With the medical advancements we have made and the personal hygiene practices we have adopted, Texans have shown that we can address both the health and safety concerns of COVID-19 while also taking careful, measured steps to restore the livelihoods that Texans depend on," said Governor Abbott. "Achieving both goals requires safe standards that contain COVID-19, emphasize protecting the most vulnerable, and establish clear metrics that the public can depend on. That is why today we have announced expanded occupancy standards for a variety of services. But, Texans should remember that a steady and significant decline in COVID-19 cases is not a sign to let up in our vigilance against the virus. Instead, Texans must continue to heed the guidance of medical experts by wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing proper sanitation strategies. By maintaining health and safety standards that are proven to mitigate COVID-19, we can continue to slow the spread while opening up the Texas economy." 

The Governor announced new visitation guidance for eligible nursing homes, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, home and community-based service providers, and inpatient hospice effective Thursday, September 24th. Under the new rules, residents will be allowed to designate up to two essential family caregivers who will be provided necessary training to allow them to safely go inside a facility for a scheduled visit, including in the resident’s room, to help ensure their loved one’s physical, social, and emotional needs are being met. Designated caregivers will not be required to maintain physical distancing, but only one caregiver can visit a resident at a time.

A long-term care facility resident (or legal representative) can designate the essential caregiver, who can be a family member, friend, or other individual. Facilities are required to train essential caregivers on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other infection control measures. Proper PPE must be used at all times during these scheduled visits, and the caregiver must test negative for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days before the initial visit.

For general visitors who are not a designated essential caregiver, these updated emergency rules will allow approved facilities to schedule outdoor no contact visits, open window visits, or indoor visitation with the use of plexiglass safety barriers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Physical contact between residents and general visitors is not permitted. Facilities also must continue to meet all additional visitation requirements outlined in the emergency rules.

View the Governor's Executive Order related to expanded capacity of certain services.

View the Governor's Executive Order related to hospital capacity.


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The City of DeSoto has been offering two grant programs to provide financial assistance to eligible DeSoto residents and businesses affected by COVID-19. 

  • The DeSoto Residential Assistance Program will provide financial assistance with rent/mortgage, qualifying utility bills*, and/or childcare costs to eligible residents. 
  • The DeSoto Business Assistance Program will provide financial assistance with lease/mortgage and qualifying utility bills* to eligible businesses. Home-based businesses are encouraged to apply. 


For more information, contact 972-230-7313 or CARESGrant@desototexas.govAssistance will be provided during the application period on Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm CST. 

Visit the City of DeSoto's Grants Page at

You can also visit our partner website at NDC: or contact NDC at




Ellis Davis Wide Open 1

Free COVID-19 Testing at Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S Polk St.Dallas, Texas 75232.  Monday to Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until the testing limit is reached. Closed Sundays. For more details visit the Ellis Davis Test Center website:


The State of Texas has put together an interactive map for drive-through COVID 19 testing sites as well as other private sector testing locations:


Texas Gold Seal

Governor Abbott extends his COVID-19 Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas (August 9, 2020)

Governor Greg Abbott today extended his Disaster Declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 13th, the Disaster Declaration provides the state with a variety of resources to effectively serve Texans as the Lone Star State continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

"Renewing this Disaster Declaration will provide communities with the resources they need to respond to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "I urge Texans to remain vigilant in our fight against this virus. Everyone must do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. We will overcome this challenge by working together." View the Governor's proclamation here:


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COVID-19 SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANTS & CDBG-FUNDS: Round Two Application Deadline Ended On Friday, July 31st At 4 PM


The City of DeSoto was been busy on two fronts involving COVID-19 Small Business Support Grants & CDBG Funds. DeSoto has been in the process of distributing grant funds to many of the city’s small businesses that applied during Round One and were found to be qualified for these grants. Two of DeSoto’s first grant awardees include Solo Bladze Hair Salon 105 Lion Street, Desoto, and Edylicious Tea Room 243 N Hampton Rd B, Desoto. Photos of both grant recipients can be found at the bottom of this news release. 


After all Round One funding is spoken for, DeSoto’s Small Business Grant Program will be able to direct the remaining balance to the small businesses that qualified during Round Two.

“I applaud the many great DeSoto businesses such as Edylicious and the Solo Bladze Hair Salon that took the time to apply for our COVID-19 Small Business Grants during Round One and who have now been presented with their grant checks,” noted DeSoto Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan. 

In April 2020, Mayor McCowan assigned City Manager Brandon Wright to form an Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force operated by senior city managers and local business and civic leaders that would work together on new ways to fight COVID-19 in the community with a special emphasis on helping impacted small businesses get back on their feet and move forward. In a relatively short period of time, the City of DeSoto’s Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force generated the following results: 


  • Conducted business/marketing outreach and facilitated the Small Business Grant Program application process.
  • Provided the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce with 22,000 masks to distribute to businesses and at events including two peaceful demonstrations following the tragic killing of George Floyd.
  • Provided the DeSoto ISD with 1,250 reusable facemasks for students participating in the school lunch program.
  • Donated several cases of bottled water to ISD’s athletic program to substitute for higher risk reusable plastic containers.
  • Partnered with the Dallas Behavior Medical Center to produce educational videos and provide COVID-19 support to students, staff, and parents.
  • Held a mask and hand sanitizer giveaway for several thousand DeSoto residents.
  • Produced a "DeSoto Together" COVID-19 resource document for DeSoto residents distributed in person, online, on local STAR Transit shuttle buses, and reprinted in a recent Sunday Edition of Focus Daily News.



 Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on June 19, 2020, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on August 4, 2020.

Effective June 19, 2020, all commercial entities in Dallas County providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy. The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees or visitors to the commercial entity’s business premises or other facilities wear face coverings. Commercial entities must post the Health and Safety Policy required by this Executive Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. Failure to develop and implement the Health and Safety Policy required by this Executive Order within five (5) calendar days following the Effective Date may result in a fine not to exceed $500 for each violation.

Click here to view the full order. 

More Information and visual resources for businesses:


The DeSoto Economic Recovery Advisory Task Force has been working hard to help move DeSoto forward during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pastor Marcus D. King is Chair of the Task Force’s Target Populations Sub Committee, and he and his team have produced this great "DeSoto Together" COVID-19 resource document with the City of DeSoto for our residents who might find it helpful. Thank you, Pastor King and team for all that you are doing for DeSoto at this difficult time! This document can be viewed below or you can link to three versions of it for your use on our website:

PDF Version:

JPG 10 x 13 Version:

JPG Poster Size Version:

City Facilities Now Open On A Limited Basis:

City Hall:

On Monday, May 18th, in conjunction with Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas, DeSoto’s City Hall, and some other important facilities reopened to the public on a graduated basis. It was a “soft reopening” designed to gradually restore on-site service while maintaining essential safety guidelines established by the CDC and Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services. City Hall, the DeSoto Public Library, and Recreation Center have been closed to the public since March 23rd as part of the coordinated effort with national, state, county, and local partners to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Those who are looking forward to transacting their business at City facilities should be aware of the following modifications to service hours and safety requirements. Changes At City Hall: City Hall reopened for normal business hours beginning Monday, May 18th. 

For the safety of everyone, residents who are running a fever, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or who have had close contact within the last 14 days with someone who has or is believed to have COVID-19 will be prohibited from entry. Visitors are asked to comply with the following guidelines while in City Hall:

• Refrain from bringing visitors into the building 

• Sanitize hands • Clean any surfaces after use with supplied materials

• Maintain six feet of separation 

• Wear a mask or face covering

• Refrain from loitering in the building

 • Refrain from visiting staff members 

Parks & Recreation:

DeSoto’s Recreation Center reopened after Memorial Day on a limited basis with safety restrictions. Patrons will have access to the Fitness Center only during the initial opening phase. The Center will open three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Memorial Day is Monday, May 25th. During the reopening week, the first day will be Tuesday, May 26th, Wednesday, May 27th, and Friday, May 29th. The Recreation Center will revert to the new Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule during the first week in June. The Fitness Center will have a limited capacity. Patrons will be required to schedule an appointment for 45 minutes per visit. Member access will be allowed during modified hours. Upon arrival, please present your membership card to the facility staff.

Fitness Center Schedule
Open on selected dates:
May 26 | May 27 | May 29 | June 1 | June 3 | June 5

Operation Hours:
8 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM

For the safety of everyone, residents who are running a fever, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or who have had close contact within the last 14 days with someone who has or is believed to have COVID-19 will be prohibited from entry.

Visitors are asked to comply with the following guidelines.

• Sanitize hands
• Clean any surfaces before and after use
• Maintain social distancing - six feet of separation
• Mask or face covering and gloves are required
• Loitering is prohibited
• You can contact the Recreation Center at (972) 230-9655.

Register for free

On Monday,  June 8, 2020, Parks & Recreation reopened the Recreation Center’s walking track and gymnasium, reactivated personal training, athletic practices,  group exercises, and indoor leagues. The BMX Complex was also reopened as were playgrounds and restrooms. However, safety and operational concerns require that the Moseley Pool will remain closed this season.

Updates will be provided online at and join us on Facebook @desotorec.

 If you have questions or concerns about Parks & Recreation operations, please direct them to department via phone at 972-230-9655 or e-mail them at

DeSoto Public Library: 

The DeSoto Public Library reopened Monday, May 18th with limited hours and safety restrictions designed to protect both visitors and library staff. Face coverings will be required. The Library and Computer Lab will initially be open weekdays from noon to 6:00 PM and will be closed on weekends. Only 30 visitors will be allowed into the Library at one time for a period of up to one hour per day per visitor. Curbside pick-up service, which was implemented as a customer convenience during the COVID-19 related closure, will remain as a service. Library patrons can reserve materials by calling (972) 230-9665 or visit the DPL Catalog to request items and then pick those materials up curbside between 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. 

DeSoto Municipal Court: 

In-person court appearances resumed in City Hall on Monday, May 18th. Court hours are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Persons who have questions about their cases can text the Court Clerk at (972)737-7558. Those needing to make an appearance before the Judge are still able to meet with the Judge through VIDEO CONFERENCING THE JUDGE by going to, click JOIN a meeting and type in MEETING ID 582-661-129 

In addition to paying in person, water bill payments can be made online at or via the automated phone system by dialing 855-748- 6063. Water customers can also dial 972-230-9627 to speak with a Utility Billing representative during normal business hours for general water account information. Check and money order payments can be placed in the after-hours drop box at City Hall. 

The City of DeSoto will continue to post new information related to facilities and COVID-19 issues on our website or Facebook  Nextdoor and Twitter pages as it becomes available. Residents can continue to call the City with general service requests via our Action Center at 972.274.CITY (2489) during normal business hours. Residents with questions related to COVID-19 can dial 2-1-1 and access a 24/7 hotline via 2-1-1 Texas.


View Press Release: City Hall Reopens May 18th On Limited Basis


Chamber MaskEmployees of DeSoto Businesses should be wearing facemasks to protect their customers and businesses should also be providing facemasks to customers who are not already wearing them. Not only does this help to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, but it will encourage customers to patronize your business because they will know that you are making every effort to keep your business safe.

 If you operate a DeSoto business and are in need of facemasks you should contact the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce to request a limited supply of free facemasks. or call 972-224-3565.  


April 3 Mayor COVID19 Order

Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan issued Amended COVID-19 Orders on behalf of DeSoto that both mirror and support those issued by Judge Clay Jenkins for the people of Dallas County. It is a part of the coordinated effort within the County to combat the spread of COVID-19. You can view the Mayor’s Orders here.

Greetings DeSoto! 

Just checking in to reassure you that TEAM DESOTO is continuing to communicate and coordinate with federal, state, county and other local government officials on the COVID 19 Coronavirus crisis. We, like other cities around the country, are doing our best to take the necessary steps to keep our citizens and others safe. We thank you and our business community for your cooperation and support during this crisis. I know DeSoto is a resilient community and expect that we will not only take care of ourselves, but our response must always include taking care of each other. To that end, we will continue to share information on all City of DeSoto social media platforms, so remain vigilant in monitoring the news disseminated by the City and through the news media. And by all means, be safe and do your best to practice social distancing.

If you have specific questions about access services during this time, please look at the links to the left for more information. You can also view the actual documents and executive orders issued by our Governor and Dallas County.

Please continue to pray for our city, our nation, and the world. And I especially call on everyone to say a “special” prayer for those who have contracted the virus or who have lost loved ones as a result of it. And pray for our medical professionals, first responders and leaders charged with the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of those we serve. God bless you!

Curtistene S. McCowan, Mayor

Here are some helpful links for our residents during these difficult times:

TXU Energy Provides Customer Assistance During Coronavirus Pandemic

Help For Businesses Available from Texas Comptroller

NTBHA Offers COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line

Atmos Energy Assists Customers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave

Veterans have multiple resources for COVID-19 information

COVID-19 Information from Dallas County Health and Human Services

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) serves as DeSoto’s public health department and is providing up-to-date information to residents on COVID-19 (coronavirus).  Follow this link to DCHHS information.

Who is at risk?

While most people diagnosed with COVID-19 will present mild symptoms and eventually recover, there are members of the population that are more at risk.  The CDC says best evidence available indicates the risk of severe illness begins to increase with people age 50 and increases with age.  The highest risk group are persons age 80 and over and those with underlying medical conditions.

How to protect yourself and others

Although there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to take the following precautions at home, at work or out in the community:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

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