As of today (Tuesday, April 14), Missouri City has the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fort Bend County with 90 confirmations, according to the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services Department. The City also has seven confirmed cases in the Harris County portion of the community, according to the Harris County Public Health Department.
This serious development symbolizes the importance to residents of staying home whenever possible and practicing social distancing guidelines when out in public areas or in work spaces. “Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical experts shows that social distancing, quarantining and public health recommendations have helped contain the spread of the virus and are essential to saving lives at this critical time,” said Mayor Yolanda Ford. “However, our community must become more vigilant, remain steadfast and continue observing safety measures to ensure we flatten the curve.”
Another news development in the City is staff’s decision to close the Quail Valley Golf Course for the duration of the stay home order—April 30—based on recommendations from State of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Office, which clarified that certain elements of a Golf Course do not fall under the essential category of the Governor’s Executive Order. Specifically, the guidance states that:
- Some elements of golf course businesses may provide “essential services” under [Governor’s Executive Order GA-14] and the federal CISA Guidance it adopts. For example, restaurants at golf courses provide an essential service and may continue to provide take-out or delivery options. Landscapers and other workers who are necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of the businesses are likewise essential. Such services may continue to operate and employees performing those services may go to work at the golf course.
- Other elements of golf course operations that do not involve services identified under GA-14 or the CISA guidance are not essential services. For example, golf course personnel, such as starters, marshals, and pro-shop staff, who do not provide essential services, must follow GA-14’s general rule” “minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.” These personnel may work remotely from home if possible, performing functions like taking tee times, monitoring the course, or posting instructions or updates on a website. Thus, ongoing non-essential services of golf courses should be conducted remotely.
Given the inability at this time to remotely operate QVGC operations, staff closed the course, noting that: “all tee times will be canceled and any prepaid times will be refunded. If you are an annual pass holder, you will be receiving a separate communication with how these fees will be handled.”
The closure also includes the Bluebonnet Grille, which was previously opened for carryout only. Gov. Greg Abbott’s full March 31 order may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/34DmxcJ and the April 11 golf course protocol guidelines from the attorney general’s office may be viewed here: https://bit.ly/2ydgtvx.
Additionally, in an effort to minimize large public gatherings, all City parks and trails were closed over Easter weekend. However, parks and trails, including the authorized trails along the Quail Valley Golf Course, are now open to the public, but officials ask that residents practice social distancing when getting fresh air and exercise. Also, as playground equipment, benches and pavilion areas are not being sanitized, the public is asked to avoid these areas; signage to this effect is posted. Restrooms are closed at this time.
Both Harris County and Fort Bend County have resources available for their residents, which include specific case numbers by city and zip code, maps of where residents may receive meals for their households, and community resources such as mental health assistance. “I urge all citizens to visit their respective County’s websites so they may receive the resources they may need to assist them during this crisis,” Mayor Ford said. See details below:
“We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, we encourage all residents to practice social distancing, to wash their hands, to wear masks/face coverings in public, to know the symptoms of COVID-19, to closely monitor the health of loved ones, especially those who are at greater risk, and to stay home whenever possible,” Mayor Ford said.
The City continues to work closely with COVID-19 experts and staff are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help stop the spread. Efforts include the closure of City facilities to the public through April 30 and other measures. For questions and assistance, residents and businesses may call 281.403.8500.
For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store.)