TIMELINE: See our coverage of COVID-19's impact on Cy-Fair

Cy-Hope volunteers hold up encouraging signs during a food distribution event with the Houston Food Bank on May 6. (Courtesy Cy-Hope)
Cy-Hope volunteers hold up encouraging signs during a food distribution event with the Houston Food Bank on May 6. (Courtesy Cy-Hope)

Cy-Hope volunteers hold up encouraging signs during a food distribution event with the Houston Food Bank on May 6. (Courtesy Cy-Hope)

Community Impact Newspaper reporters in the Greater Houston area and across the state have been covering the coronavirus pandemic since early March. Here is a look back on that work chronicling notable events that have changed the way life looks in Cy-Fair and beyond.

March 5: Harris County officials announce the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county: a man and woman in their 60s who reside in the northwest portion of the county. The cases are tied to international travel, and there are no signs of community spread at this point.

March 9: Hospital systems throughout the Greater Houston area begin establishing restrictions on visitors and implementing screenings for employees to help curb the spread of the virus.

March 10: With a dozen confirmed cases in the region, Harris County Commissioners Court takes several actions to prepare for further spread.

March 11: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announces the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is canceled for the remainder of the season. Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sign emergency declarations for the city and county, respectively.


March 12: Lone Star College System and Cy-Fair ISD announce closures for the week following spring break, with plans to resume in-person classes March 23. Hidalgo, alongside other area city and county officials, recommends the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 250 or more people.

March 13: Gov. Greg Abbott announces a state of disaster for all counties statewide to authorize the use of state government resources to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 16: CFISD Superintendent Mark Henry announces all campuses and facilities districtwide will remain closed until at least April 13, and an at-home learning program is set for launch March 23.

March 17: Harris County commissioners vote to extend the public health emergency declaration another week. County restrictions begin for restaurants to offer only delivery and takeout services.

March 19: Gov. Abbott announces all restaurant dining rooms, bars and gyms must close; social gatherings are limited to 10 people; and nursing homes cannot accept visitors.

March 20: LSCS cancels graduations initially planned for May 6-9.

March 23: CFISD’s virtual learning program begins. Harris County postpones primary election runoffs to July.

March 25: Hidalgo issues a mandatory stay-at-home order for the county, requiring all nonessential workers to stay home through April 3. Harris County ESD No. 9 votes to postpone their May commissioner election date to the November general election ballot.

March 27: The Texas Workforce Commission struggles to keep up with calls in the midst of record-breaking unemployment numbers.

March 31: CFISD officials announce facilities in the district will remain closed until May 4. LSCS officials announce facilities in the system will remain closed until at least April 30.

April 3: A Harris County administrative judge voids an order from Judge Hidalgo that would have released nonviolent jail inmates to help contain the virus.

April 6: In preparing for hospitals to surpass capacity, Judge Hidalgo has construction crews transform NRG Stadium into a medical site for COVID-19 patients.

April 7: State parks and historic sites are closed to the public to limit gatherings.

April 16: The Texas Medical Center reports a decrease in the number of COVID-19 patients.

April 17: Gov. Abbott announces plans to begin lifting restrictions on Texas businesses to restore jobs in stages. He also announces schools across the state will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

April 20: State parks and historic sites sites reopen as part of Gov. Abbott’s first step in reopening the state. Crude oil takes a historic price plunge into the negative digits.

April 22: Certain elective procedures and surgeries are permitted again for the first time in weeks. Hidalgo announces a new mandate stating that residents age 10 and older will be required for 30 days to wear a face covering in public beginning April 27.

April 24: Retail to-go services are permitted for the first time in weeks at stores across the state.

April 27: Gov. Abbott announces the next phase of his plan to reopen the state’s economy, and the business community in the Greater Houston area braces for what the future may hold for them. Abbott also says jurisdictions, such as cities and counties, do not have the authority to fine or jail individuals for not wearing face coverings in public.

April 28: New schedules for proms and graduation ceremonies in CFISD are announced. In a 3-2 vote, Harris County commissioners vote to invest $12 million to expand the county’s mail-in ballot program as a result of a debate as to whether the coronavirus pandemic is a legitimate reason for a voter to request a mail-in ballot.

April 29: State officials authorize restaurants and businesses to continue offering alcohol to go even after they reopen their doors for dine-in service.

May 1: Restaurants, retailers and some entertainment venues have the option to open to the public at 25% occupancy with social distancing measures in place. But some establishments—including some restaurants and movie theaters—are not quite yet ready to open their doors. Hidalgo signs a new version of her stay-at-home order, keeping it in effect through May 20.

May 5: Gov. Abbott announces salons and barbershops will be able to reopen across the state May 8, despite his previous plan to keep them closed until at least May 18.

May 6: Cy-Fair ISD officials announce outdoor graduation dates will take place the first week of June.

May 8: Salons and barbershops in Cy-Fair scramble to reopen with new safety protocols in place after Gov. Abbott’s surprise announcement.

May 11: Gov. Abbott announces 100% of Texas nursing home staff and residents will be tested for COVID-19.

May 18: Gyms across the state reopen with health and safety precautions in place.

May 19: Harris County commissioners approve extending the disaster declaration through June 10.

May 21: Hidalgo extends the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order through at least June 10.

May 22:
Restaurants may open to 50% capacity, and bars, wine tasting rooms and breweries may open for 25% capacity.

May 26: Abbott announces water parks can open with limited capacity as early as May 29.

In addition to the latest news updates, Community Impact Newspaper has also been providing in-depth reports on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected and will continue to affect various industries and aspects of life. This includes small businesses, the office market, travel and tourism, restaurants, prisons, hospitals, local churches, addiction recovery organizations, breweries, child care, domestic violence, local development, the environment, birthing centers, local dance studios, senior living facilities, residential real estate, weddings, local musicians, legal professionals, local transportation projects, mental health services and the use of social media for good.
By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

Eleven days after officials across Harris County's criminal justice system met to discuss how to alleviate overcrowding at the county jail during the coronavirus pandemic, progress has been "excruciatingly slow," according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
Progress 'excruciatingly slow' on effort to address overcrowding at Harris County Jail

"I know it is keeping many of us awake at night, and it should. It absolutely should," said U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who is presiding over an ongoing lawsuit dealing with the county's felony bail practices.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact staff)
2,610 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Cy-Fair from Jan. 20-26

In the past seven days, 2,610 new cases have been confirmed locally, and eight Cy-Fair residents have died due to the virus.

Hungry Howie's Pizza's newest location is on West Road in the Cy-Fair area. (Courtesy Hungry Howie's Pizza)
Hungry Howie’s Pizza opens new location on West Road in Cy-Fair

Diners who register in advance can get a free junior pizza at today's pre-opening event.

Texas Medical Center offers coronavirus updates

More than 118,000 people have received their first shot.

Harris County Flood Control District is planning to submit preliminary flood plain maps to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in late 2021. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County's preliminary flood plain maps to be released in late 2021

The new flood insurance rates in Harris County could take effect in 2023 or 2024.

Cleaning products are stored in a Cy-Fair ISD campus custodian closet. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
378 new COVID-19 cases reported in Cy-Fair ISD schools Jan. 18-24

This is the highest number of cases confirmed in any given week since the start of the school year, up from 298 cases the previous week.

From left: Edward Leutsch, Nina Hermann and Rodney Alexander were among the first Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photos courtesy Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital)
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital patients age 75 and older begin receiving vaccinations

Many of the patients eligible to get vaccinated in the past week said they have missed spending time with loved ones in person and were eager for this first dose.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the opening of a COVID-19 vaccine waitlist at a Jan. 25 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook)
Harris County to open waitlist for COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 26

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned that vaccine supply remains "extremely limited," and it will still take time for those waitlisted to get an appointment.

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS on Jan. 22. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County ESD No. 11 issues counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS for $20 million

According to the counterclaim, the district is suing Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services for about $20 million in “missing and stolen taxpayer funds.”

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 met Jan. 21 at its new administrative offices. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 lays groundwork for 911 dispatching plans

Cypress Creek EMS currently serves as a dispatch facility for 17 emergency agencies.

(Courtesy The Connection School of Houston)
A guide to Cy-Fair private schools in 2021

See extracurricular activities offered, current enrollment and tuition rates at local private schools.