In response to the recent emergence of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the United States, the City of Richland Hills has been working with our local, state and federal partners on updating our operational and emergency response plans.
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our citizens and employees, and we are taking every possible precaution to protect our community. We are following the advice and directives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Tarrant County Public Health Department.
Information about the virus and its impact to the Dallas- Fort Worth area is constantly evolving. We will post updates on this website and the City of Richland Hills Facebook page as more information is made available.
If you have questions regarding COVID-19 or public health issues, please call the Tarrant County Coronavirus Hotline at 817-248-6299.
- City Facilities Reopen: City facilities will be reopening in phases beginning Friday, May 29:
- The Link Event and Recreation Center - Friday, May 29
- City Hall, Utility Billing & Municipal Court - Monday, June 1
- Fire Administration & Police Department - Monday, June 1
- Animal Services Center - Tuesday, June 2
- Richland Hills Library - Tuesday, June 9
- Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas: The State of Texas is regularly updating their plans and next steps to Open Texas. For more information on guidelines and openings, visit their Open Texas website.
- Governor Issues Re-Opening Guidance: Governor Abbott released Open Texas Checklists during his press conference May 18, as part of Phase 2 of his re-opening plan.
- Governor Abbott’s Re-Opening Orders: On May 5, 2020, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-21, expanding openings of additional businesses and activities. Read more about the order’s details here in a press release from the Governor’s Office.
- The Governor’s Report to Open Texas: The Governor’s April 27, 2020, announcement initiating phase one to open Texas, was accompanied by Texans Helping Texans: The Governor’s Report to Open Texas. This detailed report, available on the strike force website, helps Texans understand phase one by outlining the new protocols, guidance, and recommendations. The report also includes a series of Open Texas Checklists that outline DSHS’ minimum standard health protocols for all Texans. Visit the website here: https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.
The links below provide information about both local and statewide testing sites and processes.
May 1, 2020:
- Mayor Edward Lopez sends out his "Mayor's Message" regarding the reopening of businesses in Richland Hills. "To help ensure the safe reopening of businesses, the Governor provided minimum health standard protocols that each business should follow. Those protocols are being passed along to our businesses in Richland Hills, and city staff will be monitoring compliance."
April 27, 2020:
- Governor Gregg Abbott releases his report Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas and three corresponding orders
- Executive Order No. GA-20 related to expanding travel without restrictions (there is still a mandatory 14-day quarantine if traveling to Texas from certain states/cities)
- Executive Order No. GA-19 related to hospital capacity in response to COVD-19 illnesses
- Executive Order No. GA-18 related to the reopening of some businesses/services with limitations as outlined in the order beginning Friday, May 1, 2020.
April 21, 2020:
- Tarrant County issues an amended Executive Order to coincide with the orders issued by Governor Abbott on April 17, 2020.
April 17, 2020:
- Governor Greg Abbott issues Executive Order No. GA-17 creating the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas to study and make recommendations on safely and strategically restarting business in Texas.
- Governor Greg Abbott issues Executive Order No. GA-16 related to the safe, strategic reopening of select services and activities in Texas. The order establishes a temporary "Retail-To-Go" model that will allow retail outlets in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer's cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact. The Order also states that all schools will also remain closed for the rest of the school year.
- Governor Greg Abbott issues Executive Order No. GA-15 related to hospital capacity and personal protective equipment needed for the COVID-19 response. The order also loosens restrictions on certain surgeries that were previously restricted by the Governor in March.
- Governor Greg Abbott directs state parks to reopen on Monday, April 20 with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five.
April 13, 2020:
- Richland Hills City Council approves Ordinance No. 1405-20 adopting the Mayor's Fourth Amended Declaration of Local Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency
April 9, 2020:
- Aligning with the recent orders issued by Governor Abbott and Tarrant County Judge Whitley, Mayor Edward Lopez issues a Fourth Amended Declaration of Local Disaster for Richland Hills. Refer to the City's updated Disaster Restrictions Chart for the full list of current restrictions.
April 6, 2020:
- Mayor Edward Lopez sends out a "Mayor's Message" encouraging all Richland Hills residents to remain diligent in their efforts to stay home and reduce the spread of COVID-19. "These days are difficult, but they are also filled with many blessings. We have been given time: more time to spend with our family, to take care of our homes, to focus on our own health and well-being. I encourage you to take this time to focus on the blessings in your life."
April 3, 2020:
- Tarrant County issues an amended Executive Order to coincide with Governor Abbott's Executive Order No. GA-14.
March 31, 2020:
- Governor Greg Abbott issues Executive Order No. GA-14 relating to the statewide continuity of "essential services and activities" as defined by the US Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0. The Governor also includes religious services conducted in churches, congregations and houses of worship as essential. Religious services should still be conducted from home or through remote services; however, if a place of worship does not have the ability (technologically or financially) to conduct remote services they shall be conducted according to the guidelines from the President and CDC regarding practicing social distancing and good hygiene.
March 30, 2020:
- The Richland Hills City Council approves Resolution No. 523-20A continuing the Mayor's Third Amended Declaration of Local Disaster through May 15, 2020. This extends the closure of City facilities, playgrounds, restrooms and park amenities through that date. Citizens may still do business with the city by phone, email or online.
March 27, 2020:
Due to the recent surge in residential waste volume and to provide additional protection to their employees, Republic Services is making the following changes effective immediately:
- Only collecting trash and recycling that is contained in your cart. For customers who do not have cart service, we will accept waste placed in bags only, not exceeding 50 pounds
- Suspending yard and/or bulk waste pickups to prioritize residential collection
You can find out more about changes to service delivery on Republic's website.
March 25, 2020:
- Mayor Edward Lopez issues a Third Amended Declaration of Local Disaster in accordance with the Stay at Home Executive Order issued by Tarrant County yesterday. Refer to the City's Disaster Restrictions Chart for a full list of current restrictions.
March 24, 2020:
- Tarrant County issues a Stay at Home Executive Order for all Tarrant County residents to stay at home except to travel to work for an essential business, for essential medical care, or to acquire essential items (food, pet food, medications, cleaning supplies, etc.). The Order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight through April 7, 2020.
March 23, 2020:
- In response to the amended declaration issued by Tarrant County on March 21st, Mayor Edward Lopez issues a Second Amended Declaration of Local Disaster and the Richland Hills City Council approves extending the declaration through May 15, 2020 via Resolution No. 523-20.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic and state and local emergency declarations put in place to help stop the spread of the disease, the Richland Hills City Council approves Resolution 522-20 postponing the May 2, 2020 General Election for the offices of Mayor and City Council Places 2 and 4 to November 3, 2020. By postponing the election date, the City is preserving all candidate filings and ballot order actions that have already taken place. The postponement does not have the effect of reopening candidate filings.
March 22, 2020:
- Mayor Edward Lopez releases his "Mayor's Message: COVID-19" to the Richland Hills community encouraging citizens to be diligent in their social distancing efforts. "Richland Hills is a strong community. Many of us grew up here and then chose to raise our families here because of this community. We look out for one another. We take care of one another. We are in this together, and together we will come out stronger on the other side."
March 21, 2020:
- As the number of positive cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex continues to grow, Tarrant County issues the Second Amended Declaration of Local Disaster limiting gatherings to less than 10 people, closing certain business types and retail establishments to the public, closing in-person worship services, and ordering households where an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate at home.
March 19, 2020:
- Aligning with the orders issued by the State of Texas and Tarrant County, Mayor Edward Lopez signs the First Amended Declaration of Local Disaster for Richland Hills
- Tarrant County issues First Amended Declaration of Local Disaster restricting restaurants to take out or drive-through only; closing bars, lounges, taverns, commercial amusement establishments, bingo halls, theaters, gyms and private clubs; and limiting the occupancy of event centers, hotel meeting spaces, retail stores, convenience stores, plazas, malls and places of worship
- Governor Greg Abbott issues Executive Order No. GA-08 directing people to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10; eating or drinking at bars, restaurants,
and food courts, or visiting gyms or massage parlors; visiting nursing homes or retirement facilities; and temporarily closing schools.
March 17, 2020:
- Mayor Edward Lopez joins the Federal Government, State of Texas and Tarrant County in signing a Declaration of Local Disaster for Richland Hills. The declaration will be presented to the Richland Hills City Council on March 23rd. The declaration of local disaster will assist Richland Hills in securing the supplies and equipment needed to effectively respond to and recover from an emergency.
- In response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Tarrant County and surrounding areas, the City of Richland Hills closes all city facilities to the public. City services are still being provided, and citizens are encouraged to continue to do business with the City online, by email and over the phone.
March 13, 2020:
- Tarrant County issues a Declaration of Local Disaster Due to Public Health Emergency
- Governor Greg Abbot issues a State of Disaster for all Texas counties for COVID-19
- President Donald Trump declares a State of National Emergency for the United States of America
- In response to the emergence of COVID-19 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the City of Richland Hills closes the Library and Link Event and Recreation Center and cancels the following:
- All recreation programs, events and activities
- All library programs, events and activities
- Municipal court hearings and trials
- Official city meetings
- Easter Celebration
These links provide good resources for tracking the progression of the outbreak and finding answers to frequently asked questions.
- Tarrant County Public Health
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
Texas Case Counts National Updates (CDC) Worldwide Dashboard
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk
COVID-19 is a viral disease just like the flu. In order to reduce your risk of being infected or infecting others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water are not available, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces