Legislative updates from Sen. Bob Hall
From the office of Senator Bob Hall:
As you are aware, we have been working with state and local officials to limit the spread of COVID-19. As details seem to change by the minute, we wanted to provide you with information as it comes in.
Taking action quickly to slow the spread of COVID-19 will keep our excellent medical professionals available to treat the cases that may require deeper medical attention.
If you have a fever or symptoms, call your doctor. If you cannot afford to be tested or treated for COVID-19, call the statewide hotline to access info on how you can be treated at a public or nonprofit health facility. Statewide Hotline: 2-11 or https://www.211texas.org/.
Although Senate District 2 has a multitude of different levels of restrictions, the most recent updates for the Dallas area was announced to limit the spread of COVID-19:
- No community gatherings of more than 10 people.
- A prohibition on dine-in service from restaurants.
- The closure of bars, lounges, taverns, private clubs, gyms, health studios, theaters and commercial amusement facilities.
Experts predict the number of COVID-19 cases to go up exponentially in the coming days as testing is increased. It is recommended that people who have private insurance use their primary care physician to order a test. If you feel that you may have COVID-19 and meet the criteria for being at risk, the CDC website outlines the process https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.
First, we encourage you to make the health of you, your family and our community the top priority. This means following basic recommendations to prevent the spread.
- Wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap.
- Don’t touch your face, and sneeze or cough responsibly.
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19 (dry cough, fever, fatigue).
- If possible, self-isolate you and your family. This means only leaving your home for essentials and practice social distancing by maintaining a distance 6 feet between you and others. If you are not able to self-isolate, please practice social distancing.
- Be prepared for business, school and other closings for eight weeks or more.
These recommendations are designed to reduce widespread outbreak and are for the benefit of our entire community. Our goal is to keep our citizens as healthy as possible, and for those who are impacted to receive the highest quality of medical care. If we work together, we will achieve this goal.
- Governor Abbott also granted Department of Public Service (DPS) the authority to extend the expiration of a Texas driver's license, identification card, election identification certificate and vehicle registrations for the duration of the declaration of State of Disaster.
- Several Texas cable companies including Suddenlink, Charter and Comcast are providing free internet for K-12 students for 60 days.
- Employees affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), can apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS) online. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week or employees can call Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
- Governor Abbott also announced that the state is waiving STAAR testing requirements for this year, a decision I strongly agreed with.
- US Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have moved the deadline for taxes due to 90 days from April 15th. However, if you are expecting a refund, it is recommended you get your taxes in sooner than later so they may start paying individuals out what is owed.
- As of Tuesday, Governor Abbott has activated the Texas National Guard to be prepared to assist with response efforts. This will allow the National Guard to ensure that its personnel will be available to assist in various forms throughout the state, be it building additional hospital capacity or bringing needed supplies in higher impacted areas.