Following an April 17 announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott, businesses in The Woodlands area will soon reopen operations in phases despite the coronavirus outbreak.
JJ Hollie, president and CEO of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks that Gov. Abbott's announcement, which announced three executive orders to restore more jobs while keeping Texans safe, is great news for the local economy.
"We've been in this kind of shutdown-limbo world for what feels like years," Hollie said. "People are waiting for the opportunity to do this in a safe way that isn't going to increase the use of hospital beds and [that is going to] help keep us all healthy."
According to Abbott, state parks will be able to reopen April 20; some surgery restrictions will be lifted as of April 22; and retailers will be able to offer to-go services as of April 24, Community Impact Newspaper reported. The second phase will allow more openings around April 27 based on data and the spread of the coronavirus. However, Texas schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
Hollie said retail businesses opening as to-go operations beginning will be largely beneficial for The Woodlands area. Moving forward, Hollie said a systematic approach will be vital for the area.
"This is a very serious virus with very serious implications for those at risk," Hollie said. "We are seeing the curve flattened, so now, we have to see how to reopen for business."
Throughout the closings caused by coronavirus, Hollie said the chamber has been offering daily, themed virtual networking sessions for members as well as compiling information for businesses about payroll tax deferments, loans and grants through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Hollie added that communications are constantly being held with elected officials in order to represent area businesses as well.
The announcement comes after regional economist Patrick Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, estimated the Houston area could see around 250,000 job losses through March and April, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
Nola Z. Valente contributed to this report.
The Woodlands-area businesses preparing for reopening following governor's orders
Businesses around The Woodlands area can anticipated reopening in limited capacities in the coming weeks. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)