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

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.