|Current status of our eighth week (2 months) under a Disaster Declaration dealing with COVID-19:
On May 12th the Highland Village City Council extended our City’s Disaster Declaration indefinitely, in the Council’s action we now mirror and enforce the disaster declarations issued by both Denton County and Governor Abbott. Our disaster declaration will be lifted when the Governor and Denton County lift their disaster declaration. I was asked, since the Disaster Declaration was extended doesn’t that mean our doors can stay closed? No, a Disaster Declaration triggers elements of the Local Government Code (primarily Section 418, Emergency Management) which allows for the authorization and provides for cooperation in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. In the Governor’s past orders it is stated that the States orders supersede all County and Municipal orders issued under section 418. The orders within the Disaster Declaration is what provides the details of an action plan such as the opening of Retail at 25% occupancy limit. Under the Governors order issued on April 27, GA-18, County and Municipal operations will open. City Offices are reopening May 18th!
This means that we will be back to the business casual dress code per City policy, and our casual dress will go back to Fridays only. I understand there is a level of anxiety that some or all of you may be experiencing with the City reopening to the public. Please know that your concerns are valued and respected. Please do not hesitate to share areas of concern and suggested solutions with your supervisor or Human Resources. In preparation for the reopening, the City is providing Plexiglas barriers at all customer service counters that do not currently have windows – these will be in place before Monday’s opening. Also, please ensure that counters are supplied properly with hand sanitizer, tissue, trash receptacles, cleaner, and ensure staff is trained in keeping areas cleaned throughout the day. Maintenance staff is providing floor decals and signage for customers to ensure they practice appropriate social distancing precautions in public areas. Luckily, the public is now used to these protocols and expect them to be in place, so there should be very little customer education required. If you need any supplies please contact your supervisor or Human Resources.
At this time we will continue having deliveries dropped off at the employee entrance utilizing the doorbell – this has worked well and it may give some comfort knowing it limits the amount of traffic we have coming through the main doors. Have a game plan with your co-workers about how to serve the public under the guidelines. If at any time a customer is behaving in a way that makes you feel unsafe, you certainly have the right to ask them to comply with guidelines. An example of this would be politely asking customers to step away from others, or to clear an area that is getting too crowded for your comfort. If they do not respond to your request, call for your supervisor, or if you feel threatened, utilize the emergency button provided by the police department.
This week I participated in an online course with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Governor Abbott selected Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as the State governmental agency that will manage the CARES relief fund established by the Federal Government for the COVID-19 pandemic. I have identified two items, as the presenter stated these are items that have not received much public notice but may be relevant to all of us.
SEC. 2204. Allowance of Partial Above the Line Deduction for Charitable Contributions. - Section 2204 of the CARES Act (the “Act”) amends section 62 of the Internal Revenue Code, by allowing taxpayers that do not itemize their deductions to take a limited above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions made during a taxable year beginning in 2020. The Act allows taxpayers that do not itemize to deduct up to $300 in cash contributions made to qualifying charitable organizations,
SEC. 2205. Modification of Limitations on Charitable Contributions During 2020. - Section 2205 of the CARES Act temporarily modifies charitable contribution limitations for individuals that file itemize deductions. For individuals, the Act modifies the limitation from a maximum of 60% to 100% of adjusted gross income.
So where do we stand with COVID-19 in Highland Village and in Denton County? For the City of Highland Village, we have (13) residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 and we now have eleven (11) residents with a total recovery, two (2) positive residents are under quarantine. The attached link https://gis-covid19-dentoncounty.hub.arcgis.com/pages/covid-19cases is the factual data, provided by Denton County Public Health department. If you scroll down to the very last statistical information the County is now providing “Daily Hospital Capacity”. The two addition tabs at the bottom provide “Type of Case Occupied Beds” and “Ventilator Usage per Day”.
It can be challenging to stay positive during negative times. Our own wellness is often overlooked, many times let alone during a pandemic, when our job as public servants is to care for the common good of others. Thank you to everyone working on the frontline, and behind the scenes can be even more of a challenge these days. While surrounded by uncertainty, standing on positive ground with the onslaught of negativity, can be easier said than done. I am provided a lot of information on many issues dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I received an email article on worrying and it provide some good insight.
Do you worry more or less than others? Worry brings more to worry about. Believe it not, there’s a cost to worry... added tension, poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, lack of concentration. If you think about it, most of what we worry about never happens. Now you might be thinking, this is all well and good, but how am I supposed to worry less? It’s hard to stop worrying on a dime, but possible to just get started. Take (3) steps to climb UP from WORRY
1. Admit to yourself what you feel... “I feel worry about...”
2. Since you don’t have control of ‘the Worry’... release it.
3. Find a positive thought to replace the worry with. Start with the statement below
“I have the ability to CHOOSE my level of worry. I CHOOSE to worry less about the things I don’t have control of. I am working at releasing the worry.”
“We do have the ability to positively impact someone’s life each and every day!”
Thank you, ML
This week, all three shifts attended EMS Continuing Education classes in the Fire Department’s Training Room. This class was taught by Kenny Navarro with UT Southwestern Medical Center and covered Sepsis.
Assistant Chief Nokes took part in a conference call on Wednesday with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) and other regional fire departments. Under discussion was prioritizing COVID-19 screening for all nursing home residents and staff. Nursing homes are among the most vulnerable places during this pandemic and the hope is that testing could reduce the number of COVID cases and deaths.
Fire Chief Michael Thomson is being updated on the latest COVID-19 information through virtual meetings with local, State and Federal entities. All relevant information will be passed on through our City website and social media accounts.
The Fire Department had a busy Saturday, they were invited to three birthday party parades. Happy Birthday to Jackson, Emma, and Paxton!
Chief Thomson was the guest reader for Story Time this week and read “Firehouse”.