In recent weeks, the entire community has been working to keep up with the rapid response to the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas and the nation. All steps being taken are meant to safeguard public health, including closure of several city facilities.
All residents of The Colony are currently under a series of "Stay at Home" Orders and local disaster declarations issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, Denton County Judge Andy Eads, and The Colony City Council, all of which are meant to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, aka #FlattenTheCurve.
The original statewide orders are in effect until April 30. The Governor issued new executive orders on April 27, which are effective May 1. According to the newest orders:
- Residents are still encouraged to practice social-distancing, minimize social-gatherings, and minimize contact with individuals outside their households unless accessing essential services or reopened businesses;
- Many businesses deemed "non-essential" by definition of previous orders may reopen on May 1 while maintaining a maximum of 25-percent capacity and also comply with social-distancing practices for both employees and the public. (Bars, gyms, public pools, tattoo and piercing studios, cosmetology salons, and interactive entertainment venues such as bowling and video games, remain closed.)
On April 22, The Colony City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the city’s Mayoral Declaration of a Local Disaster in response to COVID-19 such that the city will continue to follow the orders and timelines as set forth by Denton County. The local 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.
CITY FACILITIES: CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
- 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: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday. 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 have also created a page of online instructional videos for their 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. The dog park, skate park, and Bridges Park tennis courts will be reopened at 8 a.m. Friday, May 1. However, use of public playgrounds, pavilions, picnic tables, and basketball courts remains prohibited. Golf courses may be open but with strict guidelines. The Stewart Creek Park boat ramp is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The rest of the park is open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. Call 972-625-1106 for more info.
- 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 visits are 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 and Police Records customer-service lobby is closed but staff are still available to assist via email or by phone. Anyone wishing to make payment arrangements or attempt to resolve their case may call the Court at 972-624-2200 or send email to [email protected]. Payment options are also available online. For Police Records, call 972-625-8273.
- The Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center is closed through the end of May.
- 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
- 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 has cancelled 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. Check out this video for more information about TCFD preparedness & procedures.
- Monthly tests of the Outdoor Emergency Warning System are suspended so as not to cause confusion. However, there will still be brief "quiet" tests and siren rotation every Wednesday at noon.
- The Colony Police Department is NOT pulling over drivers and asking for work documentation in light of any "Stay at Home" order. If an Officer makes a stop, it will be for an observed traffic violation or investigation of another criminal offense. They will, however, encourage the community to voluntarily comply with the orders as they conduct daily operations. Anyone suspecting others in the community are not properly adhering to the guidelines may contact the TCPD non-emergency line at 972-625-1887. Also, the lobby at Police Headquarters is closed to the public.
- 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) are 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 collection services will continue as normal. But in a measure designed to help safeguard Republic employees, residents are asked to bag and tie their bulk-collection items (whenever possible) in bags not exceeding 50 pounds.
- 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 below 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:
Face-coverings: When you can’t stay home, the CDC recommends use of a cloth face-covering in public to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Your cloth face covering should:
- Reach above the nose, below the chin, and completely cover the mouth and nostrils;
- Fit snugly against the sides of the face;
- Be made of multiple layers of fabric that you can still breathe through; and,
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damaging the material or shape.
Do not buy surgical masks to use as a face covering. Those are intended for healthcare workers and first responders. Many items you may already have in your home can be used to create face coverings. Try creating a cloth face covering using bandanas, ski masks, washable napkins, or dish towels. More information from the CDC.
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.
Chloroquine phosphate: The CDC has issued a health alert warning against the use of non-pharmaceutical chloroquine phosphate to treat COVID-19. Chloroquine phosphate, when used without a prescription and supervision of a healthcare provider, can cause serious health consequences. More information.
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 Texas Department of Health and Human Services has also established toll-free mental health support line for those experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic: 833-986-1919.
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.
For more, check out our Mental Health Resource one-sheet.
INFORMATION FOR 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.
Also, Texas Woman’s University (TWU) is offering a program to assist Texas, woman-owned businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19
City statement March 3, 2020