The Woodlands extends event cancellations, suspends Town Center Trolley service; Shenandoah makes disaster declaration

The Woodlands Township held an emergency meeting March 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands Township held an emergency meeting March 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands Township held an emergency meeting March 16. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated March 19, 3:37 p.m.

Oak Ridge North Mayor Paul Bond amended the city's disaster declaration first issued March 18 to reflect Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough's own amended limited occupancy order, which went into effect March 19. Following the county guidance, the city's restaurants are closed for dine-in service, and businesses such as bars and gyms were ordered to cease operations. Other businesses, organizations and places of worship—aside from retailers selling groceries or medical supplies—were also urged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommended gathering limit of 10 people.

The full mayoral disaster declaration may be viewed here.

Oak Ridge North also posted a notice on its website cancelling all scheduled 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. arraignments and show cause hearings in its municipal court through May. The court may be contacted at 281-292-8736 to reschedule.

Updated March 17, 4:40 p.m.

Shenandoah Mayor Ritch Wheeler declared a local state of emergency for the city on March 17 and will suspend city-sponsored events through April 14, according to a news release.

Along with the suspension of events, food and drink establishments within city limits must reduce occupancy to 50 or fewer people present at any given time with table spacing at 10 feet apart, according to the release.

“This is a necessary step that gives the city the authority to do what it needs to do to protect the public health, safety and welfare of our residents and visitors,” Wheeler said in a statement. “We are diligent in our planning for continuity of operations to serve the public to the best of our ability.”

Shenandoah is following similar restrictions to those put in place by Montgomery County March 17, which County Judge Mark Keough put into effect at 3 p.m.

March 16, 6:20 p.m.

At an emergency meeting held March 16, The Woodlands Township board of directors extended its cancellation of township-sponsored events from April 12 to May 10 in keeping with an amended Montgomery County occupancy order limiting gatherings to less than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

“These cancellations and postponements are to allow officials to address a public health concern and to redirect public safety resources into that effort,” board of directors Chair Gordy Bunch said at the meeting, which was broadcast on the township website.

Among other changes to abide by current county directives and health recommendations, Town Center Trolley service will also be suspended as well as the operation of township recreation centers, Texas TreeVentures and boat houses.

Pathways throughout the township will not be closed because it would be impractical to do so, according to discussion at the meeting.

However, the board recommended placing signage on township parks indicating that they are closed and that equipment is not sanitized.

Trash service will continue normally, Bunch said.

The board also asked residents not to bring donations of food to fire department stations due to the risk of contagion.

The board authorized the township general manager and staff to adjust the schedule and routes for The Woodlands Express park and ride service as needed. As of Monday, usage of the service was down about a third, according to General Manager and President Don Norrell. First Class Tours, which operates the service, is taking measures to sanitize the vehicles regularly, according to information at the meeting.

The bus routes can be changed or eliminated at the general manager's order if demand falls or if the rule for group limit is reduced to 10, officials said.

“As soon as we end up with 50 turning into 10 [maximum occupancy] we’re going to be closing them anyway. ... It’s likely they’ll be shut down by the reduction of numbers,” Bunch said.

Among other recent regional announcements, Montgomery County Precinct 3 announced March 16 its Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste facility will be closed indefinitely, and Precinct 3 offices are also closed. Staff and road crews continue to work, according to Precinct 3.

Vanessa Holt Andrew Christman


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