In recent weeks, everyone in the community has been working tirelessly to keep up with the rapid response to the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas. All steps being taken are meant to safeguard public health, including closure of several city facilities.
All of Denton County, including The Colony, is currently under a "Stay at Home" Order issued by Denton County Judge Andy Eads, which went into effect at 11:59 p.m. March 25 and lasting for seven (7) days. The Order was thereafter extended by the Commissioners Court through March 31, at which time they are scheduled to meet again. According to the current Order:
- Residents are encouraged to stay home unless conducting essential activities;
- Businesses that are deemed "non-essential" by definition of the Order must close temporarily. Business-owners with questions about their status may send an email to email@example.com to receive specific guidance.
The Order followed action on March 23 by The Colony City Council, which unanimously approved a resolution continuing and renewing the Mayoral Declaration of a Local Disaster in response to COVID-19. The declaration went into effect immediately and shall remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 22, whereupon such date the City Council shall assess and consider amendment, renewal, extension, or repeal. The updated declaration incorporates previous orders from Denton County and the Governor’s Office, 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.
FACILITIES: CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 22
- City Hall is closed to the public 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. However, Parks & Recreation staff have compiled some at-home resources for families to utilize during this time: "Learn. Play. Grow. Together!" Community Center staff are also in the process of creating online instructional videos for its patrons. Keep watch on The Colony Parks & Recreation Facebook page for the latest updates.
- Parks & Trails will remain OPEN as they are considered low-threat areas. The disc-golf course at Bill Allen Park is an "open space" and use is allowable but users must practice social-distancing. Pavilion rentals, however, are suspended and use of public playgrounds is prohibited (per new orders, March 24), including the dog park, tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, and the Skate Park. The Shoreline Trail and Stewart Creek Park are also closed due to high-water on Lewisville Lake.
- The Colony Public Library is closed and all programs are suspended. However, a wealth of online resources remain available through TCPL’s digital offerings. Staff are also offering Facebook Live storytimes and other online programs.
- The Colony Animal Services facility remains open during regular hours but as of March 26, visits will be by appointment-only. Also, due to an 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 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center is closed through the end of April.
- 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. The CVB is also providing a regularly-updated listing of what restaurants in town remain open and are offering takeout/delivery options.
SERVICES, MEETINGS, SPECIAL EVENTS
- The City-Wide Spring Clean-Up, scheduled for April 18 at Hawaiian Falls has been cancelled. It will not be rescheduled. Keep watch for information about the annual Fall Clean-Up later in the year.
- 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.
- Simple Recycling, the curbside clothing and textile recycling service, has temporarily suspended operations.
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 SMALL BUSINESSES
As of March 20, 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.
City statement March 3, 2020