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Message from Mayor Louis Rigby:
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has issued a “Stay Home, Work Safe” Order for Harris County that includes the city of La Porte. This order goes into effect tonight at midnight and will remain in effect through April 3rd. The City would like to provide our residents and businesses with more information on what this order means for our community.
Beginning tomorrow, March 25th, anyone living in La Porte should stay in their residence as much as possible. By staying home, we are working to slow the spread of the virus and prevent our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed. La Porte residents may only leave home if their job provides essential activities and services, as identified by the Order. Residents may also leave home to get needed supplies, for example from the grocery store or pharmacy. For more information on what activities and services are considered essential, visit the City’s website at LaPorteTX.gov. All gatherings, public or private, outside a single household or living unit will be prohibited, regardless of size. As of now, an emergency curfew is not in effect for La Porte.
City Hall will be closed to the public, except for permit and inspection services. Utility bills should be paid online, by phone, or using the drive through kiosk at City Hall. Water service will not be shut-off for any residents during this time. Bay Forest Golf Course will also be closed to the public. All Parks and Recreation buildings will remain closed. While parks open space and trails are open, playgrounds and basketball courts will be closed. Park visitors must practice social distancing and remain six feet apart at all times.
The La Porte Municipal Court will remain open; however, all court dockets have been postponed through April 30th. Public Works will continue the regular schedule for daily trash pick-up, but heavy trash pick-up will be suspended until further notice. We ask that residents remove any heavy trash items from their curb to prevent drainage issues. The City’s recycling center is closed.
Harris County Transit bus services will continue normal operations.
Please be assured that the City of La Porte will continue to ensure public safety and prevent disruption to essential City services. I strongly encourage the residents of La Porte to continue following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and healthcare professionals, and also ask residents to fully comply with all enacted Orders issued by the State and County.
The City of La Porte’s number one priority is the health and safety of our community, including all employees that work for the City. This week, City leadership received information that a City of La Porte employee tested positive for COVID-19. City staff took immediate action to notify other employees and individuals that had worked near the affected employee over a period of time. Those individuals were directed to immediately self-quarantine for at least 14 days. The job duties of this employee does not include contact with the residents of La Porte in their daily role with the City. Confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result is received and maintained by Harris County Public Health, not the City.
This is a challenging time, and our community must remain united and do our part to slow the spread of the virus. Please continue to encourage and support each other as we work together to keep our community healthy and safe. We will continue to work with local officials to provide residents with updated information. To stay connected with the City of La Porte, visit our website at LaPorteTX.gov and follow the City on social media.
Review the Harris County Stay Home - Work Safe Order Here: Harris County Stay Home - Work Safe Order
Review the list of Essential Businesses Here: CISA Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce List
If you are experiencing symptoms please visit: ReadyHarris.org, to take an online assessment. After the online assessment, you will be given a unique code and phone number to talk with a physician who will further evaluate you over the phone. If it is determined you need testing, you will be provided another unique code and location to go be tested at.
If you are unable to access the internet please call 832-927-7575, where you will be provided assistance over the phone. The site is currently only available in English, but you may call the telephone number where you can be assisted over the phone in another language.
This afternoon, La Porte City Council approved an extension of the local disaster declaration for La Porte that was previously issued by Mayor Rigby on March 13th. The local disaster declaration is now in effect for La Porte through April 3rd. Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order related to this disaster, and we have posted a copy of this order below. Available here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-executive-orders-to-mitigate-spread-of-covid-19-in-texas
We would like to address a few rumors that have caused concern for our residents. At this time, the city is not under a curfew or planning to implement a curfew. Also, the city is not under a lockdown or planning to issue a lockdown. The City is not aware of any current plans to open a public testing site in La Porte. When testing sites open at other locations, we will provide that information on the City’s website and social media platforms. We ask residents to ensure they are obtaining information from official government and healthcare sources. The City is working hard to provide our community with factual information.
Mayor Rigby strongly encourages La Porte residents to adhere to the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and healthcare professionals. This includes minimizing social gatherings, specifically avoiding any gatherings of more than 10 people, and taking steps to prevent the spread of this virus.
On behalf of the City of La Porte, we encourage you to stay safe and informed. We will continue to work with local officials to provide residents with updated information. Thank you.
Governor Greg Abbott today announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. These orders are in accordance with federal guidelines issued by the President and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will aid in the state’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Governor Abbott was joined for the announcement by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen.
Commissioner Hellerstedt also announced that he has declared a Public Health Disaster which will give state and local officials additional tools to respond to COVID-19. The Governor’s Executive Orders, combined with the Public Health Disaster, provide Texas with enhanced tools and protocols to help state and local partners in their ongoing efforts to respond to, track the progress of, and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Texas.
"The State of Texas is at a pivotal moment in our response to COVID-19, and it is imperative that we act now on preemptive measures to slow the spread of this virus," said Governor Abbott. "One of the most effective ways we can do this is by promoting more social distancing and ensuring Texans avoid large group settings such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and schools where the risk of spreading COVID-19 is high. We must also continue to protect our most vulnerable populations, which is why the State of Texas is barring all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities except in the case of critical assistance. Today’s executive orders are precautionary measures that are in line with guidelines from the CDC and they will strengthen Texas’ ability to safeguard our communities and respond to COVID-19. As Texans, we must continue to work collaboratively to slow the spread of this virus and protect public health."
The following orders have been issued by Governor Abbott:
These orders will be effective on a statewide basis starting at 11:59 PM on March 20, 2020 and will end at 11:59 PM on April 3, 2020, subject to extension thereafter based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the CDC.
This executive order does not prohibit people from visiting a variety of places, including grocery stores, gas stations, parks, and banks, so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This executive order does not mandate sheltering in place. All critical infrastructure will remain operational, domestic travel will remain unrestricted, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.
For offices and workplaces that remain open, employees should practice good hygiene and, where feasible, work from home in order to achieve optimum isolation from COVD-19. The more that people reduce their public contact, the sooner COVID-19 will be contained and the sooner this executive order will expire.
Under Chapter 81 of the Health and Safety Code, Commissioner Hellerstedt’s Public Health Disaster Declaration triggers a number of important tools for state and local officials to respond to COVID-19:
Is the City of La Porte under a curfew order? The City of La Porte is NOT under a curfew order or issuing a curfew order.
The Port Authority has conducted a thorough investigation regarding the ILA worker, who recently worked at both Bayport and Barbours Cut Terminals, that tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The ILA worker is currently in quarantine at the hospital.
Port Houston has conducted a joint investigation with the ILA, which indicated that his exposure to others was fairly limited. Following CDC guidelines, all those that he has been in direct contact with during the 2 days worked at Port Houston facilities are in self-quarantine. Additionally, those who maintained social distancing from the worker, and have low risk, have been advised.
We have taken prudent steps to ensure we resume operations responsibly and safely. We will be resuming vessel operations this evening at 1900 at both container terminals. We will reopen both container terminals for regular business tomorrow morning.
Port Houston Customer Service staff will return to normal hours tomorrow morning.
Is the City of La Porte under a lockdown? The City of La Porte is NOT under lockdown or issuing a lockdown.
Operations are suspended at Bayport and Barbours Cut terminals. An ILA worker who recently worked at both terminals has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Out of an abundance of caution, Port Houston has temporarily closed both terminals while a full investigation is conducted.
All decisions on vessel schedules, demurrage, and all others will be determined as soon as possible. All updates will be communicated as information becomes available.
Port Houston’s other facilities, including general cargo terminals remain open. The Houston Ship Channel and the 200-plus private terminals that comprise the greater Port of Houston are operational.
Port Houston customer service staff will not be available by phone. We will work to answer emails as best as we can.
Questions can be sent to:Bayportcustomerservice@porthouston.comBCTcustomerservice@porthouston.com
For media inquiries, contact Lisa Ashley at email@example.com.
Business Owners: We need your help!
SBA | Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program - COVID-19 Please submit your Economic Injury Worksheet to: TDEMPARecovery@tdem.texas.gov
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities. Texas is currently working with SBA to qualify for this declaration.
Small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and some private nonprofit organizations that have suffered a substantial 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. EIDL assistance will only be available to small businesses when the SBA determines they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
In order for Texas to receive an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Declaration, the following must occur:Affected businesses will need to fill out an Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet certifying the business has suffered substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 and are in need of financial assistance.The Economic Injury Worksheet should be submitted via email to TDEMPARecovery@tdem.texas.gov.Once Texas has received five SBA validated Economic Injury Worksheet, the Governor may request the Economic Injury Disaster Declaration. A county will need to submit at least one valid Economic Injury Worksheet in order to be included on the declaration. Additional counties can be added to the declaration at a later date.To improve the process by which the state and individual counties will be declared eligible, TDEM is reaching out to business organizations and individual businesses seeking Economic Injury Worksheet submissions. TDEM ask that your organization notify its members of the availability of the program and encourage the submission of an application to determine eligibility.
Your assistance in this effort is critical in order to facilitate the declaration and certification process. TDEM will continue reaching out to your organizations as this process moves forward, and will provide additional information on applying for EIDLs once the declaration has been approved.
Should you have any further questions, please contact your local emergency management office or email the TDEMPARecovery@tdem.texas.gov.
Additional information about Economic Injury Disaster Loans can be found here, https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans.
Please submit your Economic Injury Worksheet to: TDEMPARecovery@tdem.texas.gov.
When the declaration is granted for the SBA EIDL program, applicants will receive information on how to apply for their loan.
"The City of La Porte is an incredibly resilient community, and it will take all of us to get through these challenging times."
This order applies to all restaurants in the City of La Porte.
Please see information on yesterday’s order from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo regarding restaurants, bars, clubs, and gatherings.
This order is effective today at 8 a.m. until 3/31.
Read the full order here:
For the health and safety of our staff and customers, effective March 17th through April 1st, Harris County Public Library will temporarily transition to offering limited and no-contact in-person services to the public. Library buildings will not be accessible for public use.
We will continue to offer limited library services:
No late fees will be assessed during this time. Please follow @harriscountypl on Facebook or Twitter for updated information.
The City of La Porte is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), including encouraging limited in-person interactions for city business.
The CDC has provided new guidance that recommends cancelling all events and meetings of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks. The City will follow this guidance, and update as needed. The CDC also recommends canceling events of 10 or more people who are at high-risk for serious issues related to COVID-19. People at higher risk include older adults and people who have chronic medical conditions, such as lung and heart disease, as well as diabetes.
Utilize Online or Over the Phone Services:
Here are ways you can avoid person to person interaction, and practice social distancing:
La Porte Municipal Court Dockets Postponed through April 3, 2020
Upon recommendation from the Texas Office of Court Administration, La Porte Municipal Court has postponed all dockets through April 3, 2020.
If you have a court date scheduled during this time period you will be notified of your new court date by mail, phone or electronic communication.
Jurors who received a court summons during this time period do not need to appear and do not need to reschedule.
In addition to the cashier’s window, payments may be made online at www.laportetx.gov, by telephone at 1-877-224-6076 (you will need your citation number and the amount of the fine), and in the drop box located in the Municipal Court foyer.
We will continue to operate during normal business hours, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
There are many matters that the court staff can assist you with without the necessity of appearance at a docket. We remain available to assist you at the lobby window, by telephone at 281-471-4683, and by email at Court@laportetx.gov.
The Parks & Recreation Fitness Center, Community Centers, Senior Center, and Special Services will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, until further notice.
Parks and Recreations will still deliver meals to homebound seniors.
The City of La Porte’s number one priority is the health and safety of our residents. The City continues to work with public health and emergency management officials throughout the region to ensure our communities remain prepared. City officials join the State and County in supporting a proactive approach that will limit the spread of COVID-19.
To continue this effort, Mayor Rigby signed a local disaster declaration for La Porte. This declaration allows the City to take measures that further reduce the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading in our area. These measures may include cancellation or postponement of local community events either sponsored by the City or scheduled to take place at City parks and facilities. Additional measures may be taken to protect individuals and groups who are more vulnerable to the virus.
The goal is to help slow the spread of infection. Doing so allows our health systems to sustain and meet the needs of our region, without overwhelming them.
We encourage community members to remain calm and prepared, and ask that you continue to follow public health guidance for COVID-19. Please visit the links below for trusted information and resources.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, Harris County Public Health has established a Call Center to answer questions about COVID-19 at 713-634-1110 from 9am-7pm, 7 days a week. You can also visit www.hcphtx.org/COVID-19.
As a reminder, there are no confirmed cases or persons under investigation for COVID-19 in La Porte at this time. If the City receives notification of a confirmed case in La Porte, residents will be notified via our normal communication methods. The City will continue to work with local officials to provide residents with updated information.
We are all in this together.
Due to a sudden outbreak of novel coronavirus cases in Houston, area school districts, colleges, and events have been either cancelled or postponed.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is tracking cases of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. DSHS will update the state case count each day by noon Central Time.
Public health departments are working to identify any close contacts of patients while they were sick, so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms and quickly tested, if needed.
DSHS, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and other state agencies continue their ongoing preparations so that all of state government is working together to limit the spread of the virus and protect Texans.
Minimizing exposure is especially important for people who are 65 or older, or who have an underlying health condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer. People in those groups have a higher risk of developing severe disease if they do get COVID-19, and the safest thing for them during an outbreak will be to stay home as much as possible and minimize close contact with other people. To get ready, they should talk to their doctor about getting additional prescription medications, and have enough household items and groceries on hand to stay home as needed.
DSHS has additional information on COVID-19 for the public, health care professionals, health departments and labs at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
City of La Porte Health Authority City of La Porte EMS
Oscar Boultinghouse, MD, FACEP Lisa M. Camp, BA, LP
Medical Director EMS Chief
The La Porte Office of Emergency Management and City officials continue to monitor and communicate with public health officials. We want to assure you that the City does have plans and, in collaboration with public health officials, would be prepared to respond to a confirmed case or community spread of COVID-19 in the city. At this time, we do not have any confirmed cases or persons under investigation for COVID-19 in La Porte.
How would we know if someone in La Porte has COVID-19?
The La Porte Office of Emergency Management and La Porte EMS work closely with the Texas Department of State and Health Services, Harris County Public Health and other health partners in monitoring the situation. The City of La Porte will be notified about any confirmed cases, or anyone that is under investigation for potentially having COVID-19. If the City receives notification of a confirmed case in La Porte, residents will be notified via our normal communication methods.
Who is most at risk?
Older adults and people with severe chronic health conditions may be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Watch for symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and for emergency warning signs. See the flyer below or visit the link to learn more: https://bit.ly/38ofRQc
Prevention methods include:
We continue to encourage La Porte residents to stay informed about COVID-19 and to actively stop the spread of germs and respiratory diseases.
You can access trusted information from the following sources:
Who to call?
Residents without access to healthcare can call the Harris Health System Ask My Nurse triage line for COVID-19 related questions at 713-634-1110 from 9am-7pm, 7 days a week. Nurses will be available to provide care in both English and Spanish. Please note: Harris County residents with access to health care are asked to use their provider for further evaluation and clinical advice to ensure this limited resource is reserved for those without access.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, Harris County Public Health has established a Call Center to answer questions about COVID-19 at 832-927-7575 from 9am-7pm, 7 days a week. You can also visit www.hcphtx.org/COVID-19.
The City will continue to work with local officials to provide residents with updated information.