The following link will provide you with information on HEB’s new “Senior Support Hotline” providing seniors with a hotline to order groceries from a curated list and have them delivered to their homes.
Our lives are changing minute-by-minute. Understandably, many are experiencing anxiety due to how the global outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting our daily lives. Limiting your social interactions is only the beginning. Many have lost their jobs and others are living with the daily threat that they may lose their livelihood in the coming weeks. I don’t take this lightly. As I’ve said before, I will do everything in my power to ensure that everyone has equal footing as we recover.
As a community we must come together to care for our neighbors and help everyone get through this. As you’ve heard, the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. Continuing to stay at home in the coming weeks will allow our health care system to care for those who test positive. Connecting you to community resources while I continue to work with our elected leaders is one way I can support you during this time. My staff has organized the resources that we’ve been receiving from trusted sources. They are included in this email and are also available in a more comprehensive downloadable document. Together, we will continue responding and coping with COVID-19 as a community.
HARRIS COUNTY “STAY HOME, WORK SAFE” ORDER
This morning, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo along with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” order for all residents of Harris County until April 3. The order allows residents to go for groceries, pet food, doctors visits, household items, and certain outdoor activities like exercise. But using playground equipment, benches and exercise equipment is not allowed. I am in full support of the “Stay Home, Work Safe” order and thank Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner for listening to our medical community and taking this aggressive step to keep our community healthy and safe. It is imperative that we slow the progress of this virus in our community so that our health professionals have a chance to care for everyone.
HARRIS COUNTY COVID-19 TESTING
Yesterday, Harris County Judge Hidalgo announced that the county has opened public Coronavirus testing sites. These locations will not only serve Harris County residents but will serve our neighboring communities. Taking an online COVID-19 screening is your first step in determining whether you may need to be tested for the virus.
Right now, the county is prioritizing those who are currently displaying Coronavirus symptoms and our first responders. Anyone who is showing symptoms should take the self-assessment screening and follow the instructions provided. If you don’t have online access, you can call 832-927-7575 to take the assessment over the phone.
Remember that everyone has a role to play in helping slow down the spread of this virus. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still have the virus. Continue to stay at home and limit interactions with others as much as possible.
Food Distribution Locations:
HISD is collaborating with the Houston Food Bank to get food out to our community. Curbside pickup is available and social distancing is required. Check the map for time and place.
Volunteer at Houston Food Bank
Fighting hunger is still our mission. The Houston Food Bank is in action as our community responds to the COVID-19 guidelines and closings. Volunteers are needed for warehouse projects, kitchen projects, desk duty and offsite duties. Volunteers are practicing social distancing. Learn more.
NOTE-WORTHY COVID-19 UPDATES
Everyone deserves a roof over their heads. Recognizing the economic hardships that COVID-19 may place on residents in the coming months, County Judge Hidalgo announced Harris County will halt evictions through at least the end of March. On a state level, the Texas Supreme Court suspended all evictions statewide with the exception of cases of criminal activity or imminent threat to the landlord, their employees, or other tenants until April 19.
COMPASSIONATE JAIL RELEASE
Confined spaces filled with large groups of people are the perfect storm for spreading the virus, which would lead to thousands of people flooding our hospital beds and overwhelming the health care system. Because of this, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez seeks compassionate jail releases amid the Coronavirus outbreak. The number one priority of Sheriff Gonzalez and many elected officials’ is protecting the health and safety of all Harris County residents. That is why I support Harris County Sheriff Gonzalez 100% in his efforts to reduce the jail population through compassionate release to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
Thinking outside the box during this time means finding smart and safe ways to divert people from jail, and keep our neighborhoods safe while helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. Compassionate release protects those crowded in jail, our deputies, jail staff, and the broader Harris County community from the spread of the disease.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
The Governor has issued a declaration to obtain Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance from the federal government. Now we are waiting for the President to approve the Texas declaration; once that happens, small business owners will be able to go online to apply for relief. I have included a link to a Powerpoint presentation that helps business owners determine if they are eligible and how to apply.
ELECTIVE SURGERIES, SURGICAL AND DENTAL PROCEDURES POSTPONED
On March 22, hospitals were mandated by Governor Greg Abbott to postpone all elective surgeries during the COVID-19 outbreak.
VISUAL REMINDERS FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS
Residents and business owners, we encourage you to print and post visual reminders that will help you, your family and customers remember basic steps that everyone can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Feel free to print, post and share these flyers for your homes and businesses. Using your home printer, you can easily print these on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper.
HARRIS COUNTY SERVING YOU IN ALTERNATIVE WAYS
Learn about official Harris County closings or limited services. Although most offices have stopped in-person services to combat the spread of COVID-19, residents may still access a staff member and some services online or by phone. Please note this list of closings is subject to change.
- Harris County Precinct One: Community centers closed to the public
- Harris County Precinct Two: Community centers closed to the public
- Harris County Precinct Three: Canceled all events
- Harris County Precinct Four: Community centers closed to the public
- Jury calls have been canceled through March 31, 2020
- Commissioners Court will no longer allow visitors to attend Commissioners Court. Citizens can watch the meeting on the county’s live stream. By law, a system for receiving public input during the meeting will be utilized.
- Visitors to the Criminal Justice Center and the Civil Courthouse downtown will be given a brief health check before entering the buildings. The screening test follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, consisting of a temperature measurement and short questions related to well-being and potential exposure to infectious disease risks.
- The Household Hazardous Waste facility and events at 6900 Hahl Rd. at U.S. 290 and Gessner will be closed to the public. Also, all mobile events scheduled through May have been canceled.
- The County Library buildings are closed but are still offering online and curbside service.
- County Tax Offices will remain open for employees but closed to the public. Only online transactions are available to the general public. Commercial customers can utilize a drop-off and pick-up system developed by the Tax Office. Customers are also encouraged to use the Tax Office website to conduct all other business.
- The County Law Library is closed until further notice.
- The County Veteran Services Office is closed until further notice.
- The April 7, 2020, Tax Sale has been canceled.
has reduced office hours until further notice. The office will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in an attempt to limit employee exposure to the general public. Staff will be in the office until 4:30 p.m. to assist with internal transfers and wires. If you have a transfer that will be later than that please contact our office to make arrangements.
- The Harris County District Clerk’s Office has closed in-person services. Online services to remain open.
- The Permits Division remains open to the public. However, appointments will now take place over-the-counter. The office has enacted a social distancing and sanitation policy. The office will not be accepting or processing cash payments for all permit or inspection fees. Customers may pay by check at the cashier’s window or by credit card in person at the kiosk in the lobby at 10555 Northwest Freeway, Houston, 77092. Customers may also pay by credit card online.
- Harris County Animal Shelter is accepting animal surrenders only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Visit the County Pets website for additional information about changes to availability of services and facilities.
Now is a critical time to get things right. Please check sources and refrain from spreading misinformation and rumors. Follow ReadyHarris, and Harris County Public Health for official statements and updates. See latest news releases from at the ReadyHarris Newsroom.
And finally, our entire community benefits when we respond to the 2020 Census. While you are practicing social distancing you can still complete your census. The data will be used to decide important decisions in Pre-K, family services, SNAP and redistricting. Say Yes to Census 2020! Learn more about why the Census 2020 matters to our community!