Many people with time on their hands are finding fewer and fewer ways to spend it — and the latest round of restrictions intended to slow the spread of coronavirus cuts options even further.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order closes most non-essential businesses that remained open.
Closed venues include gyms, fitness centers, swimming pools and other facilities that are used or intended to be used for any type of training, martial arts, sports or recreation.
Also shuttered are hair and nail salons, spas, licensed massage businesses and tattoo parlors, concert halls, live performance theaters, arenas, stadiums, movie theaters, game rooms, bowling alleys, arcades, indoor and outdoor flea markets and swap meets, indoor malls, indoor shopping centers and bingo halls.
The order specifically allows public parks and outdoor recreation areas to remain open, but closes playgrounds since the COVID-19 virus can remain on plastic or metal surfaces for many hours.
In her address announcing the restrictions, Hidalgo also cautioned against use of benches, tables, exercise equipment or other park facilities likely to be frequently touched.
City of Baytown spokeswoman Alicia Jauregui said on Tuesday that Baytown Parks and Recreation is removing volleyball and basketball nets to discourage group use of parks. While further measures were still being worked out, she said that signs restricting use will go up soon and playgrounds will be taped off.
The department has also closed all splash pads at parks to avoid groups gathering there.
In compliance with the order, Sterling Municipal Library has ended its curbside pickup service.
Items may still be returned through the book drop on the Texas Avenue side of the library. No fines will be charged while the library is closed. The new due date for all materials is Monday, April 6.
Essential retail stores, including grocery stores, remain open and restaurants can remain open for take-out, drive-through and delivery service.