It’s time to see masks differently.
At the beginning of May, when coronavirus levels were falling and the partial reopening of Texas began, Downtown Arlington entrepreneurs immediately responded. They masked up, they instituted stricter cleaning regimens, they re-envisioned their interior and exterior spaces to allow for social distancing, and continued launching delivery platforms, curbside pick-up and online services. The kinds of operational practices that ordinarily take months to implement were pulled off in weeks.
Since then, the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths began rising until this week when Governor Abbott warned that Texas was facing a “massive outbreak.” In Tarrant County alone, 460 new infections were reported, the second-highest total for the county in a single day since the pandemic began.
In response, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams joined Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and others to announce today that face coverings will be required in all Tarrant County businesses. The countywide executive order will begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday, June 26 and will be in effect through August 3.
Within that order, I’d like to point out two directives in particular:
- Individuals are required to wear masks in areas open to the public where social distancing is not feasible and where it is estimated that 100 people or more are present.
- All Tarrant County businesses must develop and implement a health and safety policy and post it in a visible place. The executive order provides sample policy language; we’ve formatted that into a one-page flyer that any Downtown Arlington business can easily print and display.
What we’ve learned since May 1 is that we can’t beat COVID-19 from just one side of the counter. It takes reciprocity. The idea behind reciprocity isn’t simply a mask for a mask; it’s the idea that when you, he, she, they and I wear masks out of caring and caution, our positivity can reverberate throughout our community.
Arlington Independence Day Parade Canceled, Fireworks Relocated
The Arlington Independence Day Parade is Downtown’s longest-standing tradition, a celebration of patriotism, pride and the American spirit of perseverance. This year perseverance means changing the way we celebrate but not the pride or spirit. The Arlington 4th of July Association decided today to cancel the 2020 Arlington Independence Day Parade in light of Tarrant County’s new executive orders. Another Downtown tradition, Light Up Arlington, has also been canceled this year due to public health and safety concerns, but 4th of July fireworks will go on thanks to the City of Arlington, which is hosting a free show at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 3 in the Entertainment District. Visit the City of Arlington website for more details.
Apply Now: Tarrant County Small Business Assistance Grant
This is the week! The application window is now open for the Tarrant County Small Business Assistance Grant program, which is being funded through the federal CARES Act. If your Downtown Arlington business has 25 employees or less and has been adversely affected by the pandemic, I strongly encourage you to apply. Grants will be awarded for amounts up to $10,000.
The application deadline is Wednesday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m.
It’s important to note that the amount of CARES Act funding received by Tarrant County for this program was based on U.S. Census Bureau population data. The Census impacts federal funding initiatives like this plus the number of our congressional seats, redistricting, and economic development programs. If you haven’t yet participated in the 2020 Census, now is the time. Visit my2020census.gov to get started.
Free Arts and Culture Webinars: July 7 and July 9
In partnership with the City of Arlington and UT Arlington, Downtown Arlington is over a month into the process of conducting a shared arts feasibility study. The study is being conducted by Webb Mgmt., a nationally recognized arts research and consultant firm. In addition to identifying long-term opportunities to lift up all the creative activity that takes place in Downtown, the process is also taking into account immediate needs tied to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Last week Webb Mgmt. offered free webinars designed to help artists and arts organizations bolster their financial resiliency practices. Based on feedback from our local arts community, we’re partnering with Webb Mgmt. to offer two more free webinars:
- How to Leverage Streaming for Performing and Visual Artists, Tuesday, July 7 at noon: This webinar will review online streaming practices in the performing and visual arts, using best practices and creative strategies to attract audiences and monetize the event. The session will also include a brief overview of some of the technical and legal requirements one has to consider when streaming events. Come prepared to share your own experiences and the challenges you've faced hosting streaming content.
- Financial Stabilization 3-year Plan for Artists and Arts Organizations, Thursday, July 9 at noon: Building on the 3-month financial stabilization webinar held in June, this session will address how organizations and individual artists can plan for the future while accounting for the uncertainties of programming, audience demand, and funding streams during the period of economic recovery from COVID-19.
If you're an artist or represent an Arlington-based arts organization and would like to participate, please RSVP to Elena Thaxton at Elena@downtownarlington.org.
Final Weekend for Congrads!
This is the final weekend for Downtown Arlington’s Congrads! promotion. Businesses throughout the district are offering the Class of 2020 and their families our great local cuisine, sunny patios, and unique shopping, along with Congrads! specials tailored just for them.
We’re also providing information about murals and other public art installations throughout Downtown, which provide colorful backdrops for cap and gown selfies.
Visit our website for a listing of participating restaurants and shops, map, and public art locations.