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Posted on: March 17, 2020

The Woodlands Township Update, March 17, 2020, 5 p.m.

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The Woodlands Township has launched this update to inform residents and businesses regarding the COVID-19 and its impact on The Woodlands Township. Additionally, The Woodlands Township has launched a special COVID-19 information page that can be found at the front page of www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov, both formatted for desktop and mobile devices.

The Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch will be hosting a series of Facebook Live video posts over the next several days – search for The Woodlands Township. The Township is also on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, NextDoor and YouTube.

The Woodlands Township Board of Directors to hold meeting Thursday, March 19,2020

The seven (7) member Board of Directors of The Woodlands Township will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020 at The Woodlands Township, 2801 Technology Forest Blvd., The Woodlands, Texas 77381. Residents can follow the meeting online at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Restaurant Closures/Altered Service
The Woodlands Township has received notification that Harris County and Montgomery County have asked that all restaurants, bars and movie theaters modify or cease their services for the next 15 days.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced for the next 15 days, starting at 8 a.m. March 17, 2020, that there would be an indefinite closure of all bars and night clubs in Houston and Harris County. This includes unincorporated areas which includes the Village of Creekside Park in The Woodlands. Food service establishments in the city of Houston must cease on-site dining

service for 15 days. Restaurant carry-out, delivery and drive-thru service, third-party delivery services and grocery stores are not affected by the requirements.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough ordered that bars and restaurants limit visitors to under 50 and place tables 10 feet away from one another, in addition to the following:

1) All restaurants may continue to-go, takeout, delivery, and catering operations.

2) Restaurants shall not allow any employee to report to work who is sick.

a. Strict handwashing and sanitizing operations must be deployed.

3) Any bar or club shall limit occupancy to 50 persons or less at any one time in total.

4) Movie theaters shall limit occupancy to 25 persons or less per screen at any one time.

Harris County Order | Montgomery County Order

Board of Directors Holds Emergency Meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors took several steps on Monday, March 16, 2020, to help slow the world-wide spread of COVID-19 through a series of decisions regarding facilities, including parks and sports fields, meetings, and transportation services. The Emergency Meeting was held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020 at The Woodlands Township’s Board Chambers to discuss matters related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.

 All seven (7) members of The Woodlands Township Board were present and authorized the President/General Manager Don Norrell to cancel all Township events; close all Township parks, including dog parks, park restrooms, spraygrounds, pools, boathouses, recreation centers and Texas TreeVentures; suspend Sportsfield reservations; suspend Town Center Trolley service and restrict use of public meeting rooms through May 10, 2020.

Read on for additional information related to the meeting | Watch the video of the meeting

COVID-19 Information Page
The Woodlands Township has developed a Coronavirus Information page containing resources, tips and information from partner agencies in The Woodlands, along with latest news from The Woodlands Township. Please visit the page often at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/covid19.

The Woodlands Fire Department not accepting visitors or donations
The Woodlands Fire Department reports that they are not accepting visitors or donations. “We greatly appreciate the care and concern of our residents, but at this time, we are not accepting visitors or donations in an effort to keep our public safety officials as safe as possible,” said Gordy Bunch, Chairman of The Woodlands Township. 

The Woodlands Fire Department has activated the Emergency Operations Center and increased response capability by adding additional response resources.

Township events are cancelled; Montgomery County cancels public events
 All Township events through Sunday, May 10, 2020, are cancelled. Residents will be notified of additional event cancellations, postponements or rescheduling as information becomes available.

Additionally, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough has amended the initial order cancelling all events held in public venues with attendance of more than 250 people to limit event sizes to no more than 50 people. All are encouraged to limit gatherings, particularly for those who are in high-risk categories. Nursing homes and senior living centers should also limit visitation from the public at this time.

As of March 16, 2020, The White House has asked that citizens limit gatherings even further, to no more than 10 people. Please also see the CDC recommendation regarding large gatherings.

Recycling Center to Remain Open
The Woodlands Recycling Center will remain open. If residents are looking for places to recycle other items such as electronics, light bulbs and batteries, alternative recycling locations can be found in the Recycle More Guide.

Montgomery County Update
In Montgomery County, and in the rest of the nation, testing supplies are limited. Tests are being performed at private medical offices, urgent cares and hospitals in Montgomery County that are using private labs. By law, providers (hospitals, physicians, etc.) are only required to notify Public Health of POSITIVE results. We are no longer receiving the numbers on all tests performed in Montgomery County. At this time, we have received 4 positive tests. According to MCPHD internal numbers (which do not include all numbers regarding private labs in the county), there are 22 tests that have come back NEGATIVE, and 60 tests are pending.

              Montgomery County’s current cases:

  • Case # 1 - A man in his 40s, from Northwest Montgomery County, is still hospitalized. He remains in critical condition. As a result of our investigation, we do believe he contracted the virus as a result of community spread.
  • Case # 2 - A woman, in her 40s, who resides in Southeast Montgomery County. She remains in a hospital in Harris County, in critical condition.
  • Case # 3 - A man, in his 40s, from Northwest Montgomery County. He is at home, recovering well.
  • Case # 4 - A woman, in her 40s, who resides in Northwest Montgomery County. She remains at home in isolation, doing well. Her case is connected to Case # 3.

 *Note - The CDC will no longer provide confirmations on presumptive positive cases. Cases that test positive in local labs will now be considered confirmed upon a positive result.

Read the complete MCPHD update.

City of Shenandoah Update
The City of Shenandoah has announced restrictions for gatherings as well as food and drink establishments.  Gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people; gatherings exceeding that size are cancelled until further notice.

  • All restaurants shall reduce occupancy of the entire premise to 50 people or less at at any one time total.
  • Tables shall be spaced a minimum of 10 feet apart.
  • All restaurants may continue to-go, takeout, delivery and catering operations.
  • Restaurants shall not allow any employee to report to work who is sick.
  • Strict handwashing and sanitizing operations must be deployed.
  • Any bar or club shall limit occupancy to 50 persons or less at any one time total.
  • Movie theaters shall limit occupancy to 25 persons or less per screen at any one time.

Read the complete City of Shenandoah update.

Community Testing
The availability of drive-through testing for the community is being actively addressed. More information will be forthcoming regarding availability and locations. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient before arriving to seek medical care. Additionally, two local hotlines have been established: 936-523-5040 (Montgomery County Public Health District) and 713-634-1110 (Harris Health System Nurse Line).

School Closures
Please note, school closure dates may change as more information becomes available. Please stay in touch with your affected school district.

Additionally, Governor Greg Abbott has waived STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Food Banks
Local food banks are inventorying their resources to ascertain what will be needed in the days to come. Many Township residents have expressed a desire to volunteer or donate; please see the information below regarding those needs.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

In response to recent recommendations established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion will be postponing or canceling previously-scheduled events and activities. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution and consideration for the well-being of guests, staff, artists and the community as a whole.

Current impacted events include:

  • 4/12: The Woodlands First Easter Service (see church site for more info) – CANCELED 
  • 4/22: Musical Scores (Educational Outreach Event) – CANCELED
  • 5/1: Houston Ballet (Performing Arts Event) – POSTPONED
  • 5/8: Houston Symphony: Music of Queen (Performing Arts Event) – POSTPONED
  • 5/16*: Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band (Live Nation Co-Promoted Concert) – RESCHEDULED TO 6/27/20
  • 5/20*: Houston Grand Opera: Rigoletto (Performing Arts Event) – CANCELED
  • 6/27*: Chicago with Rick Springfield (Live Nation Co-Promoted Concert) – RESCHEDULED TO 6/26/20

*Outside the current CDC 8-week guideline. Please note that not all schedule changes are the result of COVID-19 precautions.

The Pavilion administrative offices will close beginning Tuesday, March 17 (with an anticipated reopen date of Wednesday, April 1). The Pavilion Box Office (originally scheduled to reopen for the season on March 23) will now remain closed until further notice. Guests can still get information and their questions answered by emailing info@woodlandscenter.org or by messaging one of the Pavilion’s social media channels.

For more information, please see The Pavilion’s complete release.

Purchasing and Distribution of Groceries and Supplies
The Township encourages residents to act with care with regards to the purchasing of groceries and supplies. There are no anticipated grocery shortages and the food supply chain in the U.S. is well-established. Local grocers are restocking as quickly as possible from their warehouses. Please shop responsibly, purchase what your family needs as you would normally and leave goods on the shelf for your neighbor and fellow residents.

Steps to Help Stop the Spread of Coronavirus
Non-pharmaceutical interventions like hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces around your home, and staying home when you are sick are the most important response strategies. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, and no medications approved to treat it.

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information, please see https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus

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