As summer gets into full swing in The Woodlands, local businesses are slowly reopening and expanding services as restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic are loosened and capacity is increased.
Following is a quick round-up of local businesses, amenities and eateries that are back in action.
Market Street restaurants, stores reopen
Over at Market Street, both shops and restaurants are getting back to some semblance of normal.
Among the eateries and food offerings that are open with limited capacity are Tommy Bahama, the Grotto Ristorante is open with limited hours, from 3-9 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. on Friday. Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen is open for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity under normal hours; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Corey Jarreau, a manager at Schilleci’s, said business has been more normal than expected despite the reduced capacity.
“We’re following the guidelines of 50 percent capacity, but it has not been much of an issue since we’re s small, cozy space,” Jarreau said. “We’re doing heavy, heavy sanitation.”
The Tommy Bahama location in Market Street is one of the more visible and popular restaurants with a large outdoor patio facing the newly renovated Central Park community area and a robust inside dining room and bar. There will be reduced capacity, spaced out tables and enhanced health and safety protocols and cleaning. It is open for indoor dining from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
In a press release, Doug Wood, CEO of Tommy Bahama said, “We’re excited to start moving toward getting our retail and restaurant locations open and to deliver the best Tommy Bahama experience we can under the current circumstances. The health and safety of our employees, our guests and the community remain our highest priority.”
On the retail front, many stores are open with new policies. Warby Parker and J. Crew re-opened with new procedures aimed at keeping shoppers safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Warby Parker eyewear store offers one-on-one guided shopping, touch-free measurements and check-out and virtual try-on options. Surfaces and frames will be cleaned between customers. The store will perform daily health and temperature checks and customer screenings prior to shopping. Masks are required.
J. Crew is allowing 10 customers inside the store at one time to meet the 25 percent store capacity. The clothing store is asking customers to wear masks and maintain social distances of at least 6 feet. Fitting rooms are closed, but customers can make returns and exchanges at the store. Other stores have varying hours and days of operation, all available on Market Street’s website.
Texas TreeVentures reopens Saturday
Texas TreeVentures, an aerial high-ropes and challenge adventure park located inside Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands, is set to reopen to the public June 6 under several new policies due to the novel coronavirus, according to officials with The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation Department.
Chris Nunes, the township’s director of Parks and Recreation, said the staff of the high-ropes adventure course that opened in April 2019 after nearly one year of construction were excited to get to work. The staff is specially trained each year in climbing safety and rescue tactics and goes through weeks of classes before the season begins. With the COVID-19 pandemic health guidelines, there will be extensive and expanded cleaning of helmets and all other gear. The park is limited to 50 percent capacity, or roughly 36-38 climbers on the course at one time.
“We’ve been preparing for (opening) the last two weeks,” Nunes said. “We’ve been getting the gear and course resinspected and the staff has been doing a great job.”
Guests are required to make an online reservation and fill out a waiver prior to visiting. Other new policies the park is implementing due to the pandemic include encouraging guests to wear face masks and to practice social distancing. All guests will be required to leave any personal belongings in a plastic bag at the front desk.
Equipment and high-touch areas will be cleaned throughout the day and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the park.
Embassy Suites reopened Monday
Embassy Suites by Hilton The Woodlands at Hughes Landing reopened on Monday. The hotel is now taking reservations with a reduced occupancy of only 70 suites available. According to a press release, oficials with parent company Howard Hughes Corp. will reopen various floors of the hotel “as needed.” The hotel is one of three owned by Howard Hughes in The Woodlands. The Woodlands Resort opened on May 20 in limited capacity while the Westin The Woodlands remains closed indefinitely.
“We look forward to the reopening of the Embassy Suites at Hughes Landing and providing our business and leisure travelers with the care and hospitality that they deserve,” said Scott Spann, vice president of Hospitality, HHC Hospitality Division for Howard Hughes “The summer is an opportune time to experience The Woodlands and our property is a great destination to retreat to with the beauty of the Lake Woodlands waterfront, multitude of culinary options and shops just steps away.”
According to a press release, the hotel will have several amenities open to guests, including the infinity pool, he 3,000-square-foot Lake Woodlands Ballroom, and the Hughes Landing Boardroom, Other onsite amenities and services include free “grab-and-go” breakfast choices and sealed evening snack with a choice of two drinks; and a 24-hour pantry with food items available for purchase and to prepare in-room. The hotel has kept suspended many other services, the release stated, including the morning breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Hughes Landing eateries open
The Hughes Landing commercial and residential area of The Woodlands is a popular destination for residents and visitors, and many of the restaurants in the center are now reopened with limited capacity as well as to-go services.
Chef Hilda Ysusi, co-owner of Broken Barrel, said business has been “so-so” and that the popular fusion eatery has instituted social distanced tables, plexi-glass partitions and are taking customer’s temperatures at the door. The restaurant is open from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
“Somes days we’re busy, sometimes we’re not,” Ysusi said. “It will take a little bit of time (to get back to normal) but we heading the right way.”
Wanderson Oliveira, a supervisor at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse, said the restaurant is now in its second week of full opening with regular hours from 11 a/m. to 10 p.m. most days. On Sunday, the restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. for Brunch.
“We are fully open, thank God,” Oliveira said. “We’re really happy to be open. It seems to be getting back to normal.”
Other restaurants have limited hours. The Blue Fish sushi spot is only open for limited hours and has opened for indoor dining. The eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Trulock’s seafood bistro is open for indoor dining from 4-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, while closed Sunday and Monday.
Craft beer specialty restaurant Local Pour is offering limited hours and indoor dining and is assessing expansion of service on a weekly basis said Ricki Cashion, a supervisor. The beer house which features a full menu is open for dinner only from 4-9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; then 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. On Sunday, hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Sales are doing pretty good. It is not 100 percent, but we are getting there,” Cashion said.
— Chronicle reporters Rebecca Hennes and Katherine Feser contributed to this report.