The Woodlands Mall closed at the end of business day on Wednesday night, the latest large commercial property in The Woodlands to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gordy Bunch, chairman of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, said on Wednesday evening that the township received an email from Ted Harris, the general manager of the mall, indicating the massive shopping venue adjacent to Interstate 45 and The Woodlands Town Center district would shutter indefinitely at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The mall had been an outlier in recent days, staying open for seven hours a day while other large shopping destinations in the Houston region shuttered.
In the email, Harris explained new county regulations going into effect on Thursday was the main reason for the closure.
“As of (March 26), the Montgomery County Judge ordered all businesses must comply with certain occupancy restrictions. As a result, the mall’s common areas must cease operations. Food tenants may continue to operate for pick-up and delivery,” Harris said in an email to township officials. “Businesses with external entrances will be permitted to operate within the occupancy guidelines.”
The email also said mall officials would be consulting closely with county public health officials and working with free-standing businesses outside the mall’s main shell to develop proper protocols to comply with the new guidelines.
As sales tax revenue dries up during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated business closures continue, township officials are responding in various manners.
Earlier Wednesday during a virtual township board meeting, Bunch appointed township directors Bruce Rieser, John Anthony Brown and Bob Milner to a newly created Budget Planning Task Force subcommittee.
The trio will begin working immediately on solving the economic puzzle that has emerged from the novel coronavirus and corresponding governmental response in closing businesses and enforcing social distancing guidelines.