Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo just issued an extension to the Stay at Home, Work Safe Order advising people to stay home except for essential activities. This order that went into effect on March 24, 2020, has been extended until 11:59 PM on April 30, 2020.
You can view the language of the order here: https://www.readyharris.org/Stay-Home
If you need additional clarification or information on this order, please email[email protected]. Please note that Judge Hidalgo mentioned in her press conference today that the county will issue waivers for essential businesses.
Other important updates:
  • Governor Greg Abbott ordered earlier today Texas schools remain closed until May 4.
  • As of today, there are 377 COVID-19 cases in Houston, and 4 deaths. For COVID-19 updates, please visit https://houstonemergency.org/covid19.
Testing Sites
Please note that all city of Houston testing sites are now open to the general public who may be experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. In order to be tested for COVID-19 at one of the public testing sites, you must first be pre-screened by calling the Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220, or you may also take the online Harris County Public Health and Houston Health’s self-assessment tool to see if you qualify for testing byclicking hereIf you qualify after being pre-screened, you will receive a unique identificaiton code and instructions on where to go for testing.
Governement Services and Assistance
The Houston Permitting Center is moving most services online beginning Monday, March 23. The Permitting Center is doing this to maintain operations while protecting the community by reducing the number of customers in waiting areas.
All services (including permits, certificates of occupancy and temporary certificates of occupancy) are available online, except for:
  – Fire Prevention permits (Houston Fire Department)
  – Auto Dealers & Identification (Houston Police Department)
  – Boiler Operator’s Testing
  – Stationary Engineer’s Testing
Customers will have limited access to the Houston Permitting Center building. In-person visits will only be scheduled by appointment.
New Information on HPARD Curbside Meal Distribution Program
In the wake of the Houston Independent School District’s decision to shut down its food distribution program, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department is clarifying how our Curbside Meal Program for Youth operates. HPARD’s Curbside Meal Program for Youth is for ages 1 to 18. It consists of a snack and lunch. Food distribution takes place Monday-Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at 50 HPARD Community Centers. As of today, up to 50 meals will be available at some sites, and may increase to up to 200 meals per site based on daily participation.
  • To ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the curbside meal distribution, meals will be placed in the trunk of the recipient’s car.
  • Guidelines for meal distribution.
  • Community Center Staff will distribute each participant the lunch and snack at one time.
  • Each child will receive one lunch and one snack.
  • Only children who come to the site for pick-up can receive the lunch and snack.
  • A parent can’t take food for a child that is not present at the time of pick-up.
  • The Curbside Meal Program is an adaption of the federally funded and state managed After-School Meal Program which operates through HPARD’s Community Centers.
  • Funding for the program comes from a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture (T.D.A.) Child and Adult Care Food Program (C.A.C.F.P.).
  • The 50 HPARD Community Center Curbside Meal Program sites are listed below.
Food Assistance
  • United Way- Dial 2-1-1 for assitance. Local resources avaialble 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have also set up a COVID-19 Relief Fund to help with bills, rent, and food. For more information or to donate, please visit: the United Way webpage.
  • Houston Food Bank Helpline- Dial 832-369-9390 to receive food help.
  • Collaboratory for Aging Resources and Education (CARE)- Dial 346-704-4233 to receive senior aid or for any senior caretakers.
  • Texas Health and Human Services- To apply for Texas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) due to loss of income click here.
  • National Food Assistance- To find out to get food in case of an emergency, apply for food stamps and what free or low-cost food programs are available for infants, children and seniors click here.
  • Crowdsource Rescue- Crowdsource Rescue is a Houston-based disaster response non-profit. For no-contact food deliveries to high-risk Houston residents or to volunteer click here.
Financial Help
  • Houston Public Works- Mayor Turner announced that water will not be cut off for non-payment until April 30th. Please click here to set up a payment plan.
  • Small Business Administration- Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and some private non-profit organizations that have suffered economic injury due to COVID-19 may be eligible for an EIDL of up to $2 million, which will provide the necessary working capital to help businesses survive until normal operations resume after a disaster. Click here for more information.
  • Catholic Charities-Click here.
Internet/Wi-Fi Services
  • Free Internet with Spectrum- Beginning March 16 and free for 60 days for households with K-12 or college students. They also plan to open their Wi-fi hotspots for public use. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived.
  • Free Internet with Comcast- Effective March 16, new Internet Essentials customers will receive two free months of internet service. Comcast is also increasing the speed of the program to 25 MBPS downloads, and 3 MBPS uploads for all new and existing customers. To sign up online click here.
  • Free Video Conferencing through Zoom- Zoom the video conferencing app is lifting the free account 40 minute limit of video calls in select countries as well as offering free online weekly webinars on how to use the app for distance learning. To sign up click here.
  • Houston Public Library Online- The Houston Public Library offers free online books and audiobooks for anyone with a library card. You can access all services offered here.
  • COMPUDOPT- Compudopt’s mission is to provide technology to students who need it most. They are offering rentable computers to families without a device free of charge. For more information click here here.
Resources for Those Uninsured (Bilingual)
  • Ask my Nurse Helpline: Dial 713-634-1110
  • Memorial Hermann Nurse Health Line: Dial 713-338-7979 or 1-855-577-7979
Mental Health Resources
  • The Harris Center- Offers a 24/7 crisis hotline at 713-970-7000 option 1.
  • Crisis Text Line- Free 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline- Provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones at 1-800-273-8255 or online.
  • COVID19 Emotional Support Hotline (Non-Emergency)- People who are feeling worry/anxiety/stress and just need a warm voice to talk to, please call 832-251-7544.
To see Metro’s COVID-19 response click here.
   Grocery Stores:
  • There is no ban on people going to the grocery store.
  • There is no problem with the food supply.
  • The only reason why the grocery stores have been closing early is because they need time to restock.
  • Please only buy what you need, and leave items for your neighbors.
  • Some locations are establishing “senior hours” to provide a less crowded environment for our most vulnerable. Check with your local grocery store for more details.
Fun Things to Do
Netflix Party- Click here.
Social Distancing Festival- Submit and stream short plays or click here.
Art- a guide to enjoying art at home click here. Art classes with MoMA click here.
Houston Zoo- The zoo is temporarily closed, but you still see your favorite animals from the comfort of your own home! Tune in to the Zoo Webcams, and enjoy a live look! Also, each weekday they are doing Facebook Live at 11:00 AM to bring the Zoo to you! Clickhere.
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