On March 23, The Colony City Council unanimously approved a resolution continuing and renewing the Mayoral Declaration of a Local Disaster in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in North Texas.
The declaration takes effect immediately and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 22, 2020, whereupon such date the City Council shall assess and consider further amendment, renewal, extension, or repeal. The updated declaration incorporates previous orders (see below) from Denton County on March 22 and the Governor’s Office on March 19, while also accounts for future provisions of any Executive Order or directive issued by the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of Texas, or the County Judge of Denton County.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL TEXT OF THE RESOLUTION, MARCH 23, 2020
On March 22, Denton County Judge Andy Eads has issued a new executive order for disaster declaration for public health emergency to preserve public health and safety effective at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 23. The order:
- restricts all community gatherings across Denton County to 10 people or fewer;
- orders that the public or patrons cannot occupy bars, lounges, taverns, commercial amusement establishments, bingo halls, theaters, gyms, private clubs, hair and nail salons and barber shops, estheticians and related personal care businesses, spas, massage parlors, tattoo and piercing parlors, tanning salons, residential meeting spaces, event centers, hotel meeting spaces and ballrooms, outdoor plazas and markets, malls and retail stores that do not sell essential household goods;
- Allows the following entities to continue doing business as long as they enforce social separation: grocery stores, stores selling essential household goods, convenience and package stores, pharmacies and drug stores, daycare facilities, medical facilities, non-profit service providers, homeless and emergency shelters, office buildings, essential government buildings, airports and transit facilities, transportation systems, residential buildings and hotels, and manufacturing and distribution facilities. In all such locations, there must always be sufficient space for all people to be six feet apart to control infection. Where possible, a tracking list of individuals present, and their contact information shall be maintained;
- Calls on businesses that remain open to be very strict on social distancing; and,
- Requests retail suppliers use commonsense rationing of household products and groceries that are in limited supply.
“Today, I am taking further stringent steps to reduce the risk of infection across Denton County as part of a regional approach to reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, we cannot ask our businesses to bear the brunt of these actions and not do our own part. It is incumbent upon all of us to stay at home, if possible, and take commonsense steps to limit our interactions with others outside of our respective homes,” Judge Eads said.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL NEWS RELEASE AND EXECUTIVE ORDER
On March 18, Denton County Judge Andy Eads signed an amended disaster declaration for all of Denton County (including The Colony) with restrictions on public gatherings & restaurant operations. The amended Denton County declaration is effective as of 11:59 a.m. Thursday, March 19, and continuing through 11 a.m. March 25, 2020. It includes new restrictions on public gatherings; closes bars, taverns, and gyms; and only allows for drive-through/take-out/delivery at restaurants. On March 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued new Executive Orders, effective midnight March 20 through April 3, as part of efforts to continue slowing the spread of the disease.
Previously, in response to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas, Mayor Joe McCourry issued a local disaster declaration on March 17 alongside other steps the city has been taking to minimize exposure in the community, including closing some facilities.
"These steps are not taken lightly but out of an abundance of caution and as a means of necessary ’social distancing,’ which are actions meant to limit large gatherings of people. Additional safety measures may be implemented in the coming days and weeks," he said. The Colony City Council conducted a Special Meeting on March 23.
Moving forward, closures will be reassessed at the end of March. Specifically:
- City Hall is closed to the public as of March 17 but Customer Service staff remain available at the utility-billing drive-through window on the north side of the building during regular business hours. Customers can also access their accounts online.
- The Colony Community/Senior Center, The Colony Recreation Center and The Colony Aquatic Park are closed and all programs suspended. For more information, call 972-625-1106. More info on Parks & Recreation closures.
- Parks & Trails will remain open as they are considered low-threat areas but pavilion rentals are suspended. An exception is the Shoreline Trail and Stewart Creek Park, which are closed due to high-water on Lewisville Lake.
- The Colony Public Library is closed as of March 17 and all programs are suspended. However, a wealth of online resources remain available through TCPL’s digital offerings.
- The Colony Animal Services facility remains open during regular hours but as of March 26, visits will be by appointment-only. Also, due to a sudden increase in owner-surrenders, TCAS is offering no-cost dog adoptions. Each adoption includes the pet’s vaccinations, microchipping and spay/neuter. For information, call TCAS at 972-370-9250.
- The Municipal Court customer-service windows remain open during regular business hours to those would like to make a full payment, payment arrangements, or attempt to resolve their case. Payment options are also available online. However, all court dockets through April 14 are cancelled. Anyone scheduled on those dockets will receive a notice from the court in regards to a new date that they will need to appear. For information, contact the Court at 972-624-2200.
- The Colony Convention & Visitors Bureau facility is closed. However, CVB staff are available by phone or email, and will happily send out printed materials by mail upon request.
Services, Meetings & Events
- Special events through the end of April are cancelled, including Movies in the Park (4/3 and 4/24); the Spring Eggstravaganza (4/9); and Up, Up and Away (5/2). The Coach Cox Kids Chase by the Lake is being postponed to Sept. 12, 2020.
- The Colony Fire Department is cancelling all scheduled public education and public relation events to ensure adequate emergency preparedness and response capability through the end of the month. In addition, all fire department facilities are closed to walk-ins and visitors. If someone arrives to a fire station with a medical emergency, they are instructed to call 9-1-1 or use the public phone in the lobby at each fire station.
- All Board and Commission meetings (with the exception of The Colony City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission, Economic Development Corp. Board and Community Development Corp. Board) will be postponed. Residents are encouraged to watch public meetings online where applicable and submit citizens-input of public interest or regarding agenda items to The Colony City Secretary Tina Stewart.
- Permitting services will continue electronically for general applications, signs and fences. All other permits can be accepted in the utility-billing drive-through on the north side of City Hall or by appointment only if necessary.
- Planning services will continue either electronically or by appointment only.
- Trash & Recycling services will continue as normal. Our partner, Republic Services, has issued a statement to say they do not anticipate the need for any disruptions.
As we have from the beginning, we encourage our residents to follow public-health best practices regarding the spread of infectious diseases as outlined by Denton County Public Health and the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose to reduce the spread of germs
- Wash hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid touching your eyes nose and mouth.
Denton County Public Health is also offering a hotline for residents to call for information about COVID-19. The number is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 940-349-2585. Additional resources:
Facemasks: Wear a facemask if you are sick. If you are NOT sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers, first-responders, and medical professionals.
Pets: According to the CDC, there is no reason to think that any animals, including pets in the United States, might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date (3/11/20), CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the benefits of pet ownership, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
Pools & hot tubs: There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
More information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/
Resources are available via the Denton County MHMR Center. The crisis hotline is 800-762-0157. For more information, visit their website.
The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority is offering a hotline for anyone to call who may be experiencing stress and anxiety during this time of crisis. The number is 833-251-7544. It will be active as of noon Monday, March 23.
Information for businesses
As of March 20, 2020, Texas small businesses can now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the US SBA.
Also, The Colony Economic Development Corp. has compiled a Business Retention Coronavirus Recovery Checklist which will help with guidelines for the immediate actions a local business should take during this time.