Dallas County Judge discusses ‘Coronavirus in Texas’ with Texas Tribune

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN/Texas Tribune) — Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins joins the Texas Tribune to talk about how the coronavirus affects North Texas.

Jenkins spoke with Texas Tribune political reporter Patrick Svitek about how Dallas County, the nation’s eighth-most populous county, has responded to the novel coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be discussing the effect Dallas County’s early and aggressive stay-at-home policies have had on public health and the local economy, and how county residents are adapting to these new challenges.

As the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak descended on Texas, Jenkins acted swiftly to restrict movement and close all nonessential businesses in Dallas County, home to 2.6 million people in more than two dozen cities, including Dallas.

On March 12, shortly after county health officials found evidence of community spread of the virus, Jenkins declared a local disaster and restricted large gatherings. The aggressive move was controversial and put Jenkins out ahead of other large counties and the state.

“I understand how devastating this is on people’s paychecks, on their families, on their small businesses,” Jenkins said. “But we have to put our lives over our livelihoods.”

Jenkins issued a countywide shelter-in-place order March 22, making him the first Texas official to do so. Jenkins’ rapid response to combat the outbreak in his community has regularly put him at odds with local business owners, leaders of neighboring counties and even Gov. Greg Abbott. He also recently halted evictions of those unable to pay their rent due to the massive loss of jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down businesses across the state.

Jenkins has served as Dallas County judge since 2011. He is also a lawyer and small-business owner.

This event is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and TEXAS 2036. Media support is provided by KXAN and KERA.

Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.

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