DALLAS — The uncertainty around coronavirus-related restrictions has some businesses across the City of Dallas in limbo. Businesses deemed "non-essential" are temporarily closed. There are others, like some restaurants, struggling to survive.
It’s part of a changing landscape, while navigating new city and county rules around public health.
In the meantime, the City of Dallas Code Enforcement Department has a lot on its plate.
Code Compliance Director Carl Simpson said, "We’ve had 1,500 calls, subsequent to the 16th.”
Simpson said his team of Dallas Code Enforcement officers are also busy. They are getting out to the public, restaurants, and businesses as quickly as they can. They are trying to be proactive in helping identify any deficiencies based on the new local orders.
"So, for example, there’s a provision in the ordinance that requires them to post the notice in the window of the restaurant, and we’ve been going out with copies, and also issuing some notices of violations. Not citations," Simpson said.
So far, no citations have been issued. However, Code Enforcement officers are finding the six-feet rule and social distancing continue to be a problem.
"We really need to call upon the residents of the City of Dallas to help us get that message across and implement those safe practices,” Simpson said.
For now, Code Enforcement officers continue doing day-to-day neighborhood enforcement. That may be scaled back as COVID-19 work becomes more of a priority.
Simpson said the department is considering re-organizing to have about 200 Code Enforcement officers in the field, focusing on COVID-19 in the coming days.
"We’re in an awkward situation and we’re trying to balance that. But I’m hoping that we can do it with compassion, and caring, and empathy. And that is the message I need them to get," Simpson said.
Residents are encouraged to call 311 for questions regarding City of Dallas Code Enforcement.
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