With the governor pausing his reopening plans for Texas and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declaring a Level 1 emergency as COVID-19 cases surge, the city of Bellaire is following suit — scaling back some services, closing a few activities, and slowing down the restart of others.
This comes as Bellaire shows a total of 42 cases in its ZIP code — with 23 active, 19 recovered, and no known deaths — and the city reports four employees with the virus.
This is the breakdown of Bellaire’s changes:
Starting Monday (June 29), the Bellaire Library will once again close its doors, resuming curbside pickup service. Online services are still available here, along with virtual story times through the library’s Facebook page.
The Bellaire Town Square Family Aquatic Center, which was closed earlier in the week when an employee tested positive for the virus, will not reopen at this time. Evergreen Pool and the Elaine Wood Therapy Pool are open for members’ lap swim and therapy use only, with rules outlined here.
The effort to salvage an abbreviated swim season for the city-sponsored Bellaire Barracudas youth team has been disrupted, with tryouts today called off.
Swim lessons held at the pools are canceled until further notice.
Parks & Recreation/Seniors
Camp Paseo, reduced in size and under strict safety protocols, will continue to operate, but art and theater camps are canceled.
For adults, the fitness room at the Recreation Center will be closed beginning Monday, and fitness classes are being suspended until further notice.
The traditional Fourth of July Parade and Festival have been canceled. (City offices will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of the holiday.)
Seniors programs through the B-LIFE department will not resume in July, as had been planned. The city will continue to offer livestreaming activities such as bingo, trivia games, jigsaw puzzles and crafts through the Bellaire Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
For now, the city will continue its return to in-person sessions for City Council and the city’s boards and commissions. “We will continue to monitor the situation and consider returning to telephonic public meetings, if deemed necessary,” the statement read. “A final decision will be made by the mayor with consideration of all relevant information in the near future.”
Municipal buildings and employees
City Hall and the Police/Courts building are open to the public, but face coverings are required of visitors and employees, and social distancing must be observed. Municipal facilities are being sanitized daily, and employees are being urged to work from home whenever possible.
Bellaire issued public alerts when employees who have public contact — police department and aquatics staff members — tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Communications Manager Cheryl Bright said department heads are “managing exposure risk through flexible work schedules and working remotely,” and that all positive COVID-19 cases have been reported to Harris County Public Health for contact tracing.
“We continue to monitor the positive case levels in Harris County daily, and will do our best to ensure the safety of visitors and employees,” Bright said. “As always, we encourage residents to continue to practice social distancing, wear a face-covering in public, and stay home when possible.”