HOUSTON — Harris County toll roads have eliminated the "physical handling and exchange of cash on the toll road system" to reduce coronavirus exposure to drivers and employees.
The virus has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Harris County Toll Road Authority announced overnight that toll collectors will no longer accept cash payment for tolls in booths in the lanes.
"Cash customers should drive through and pay later online. If the customer is unable to go online, a bill will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle."
Here are the details released by HCTRA
What drivers need to know:
- All tolls will be collected electronically.
- Continue to use the lanes you normally use (cash will not be accepted at booths, but drivers should still use those lanes - just drive through and pay later.)
- Check back regularly for updates.
For drivers with EZ TAG accounts (and all other interoperable toll tag accounts) tolls will post electronically to their accounts, per usual operations. During this time, only tolls will be charged, no fees will be added for any nonpayment of tolls at the time of transaction.
For drivers who typically pay cash in the lanes:
- Drive through and pay the toll online at hctra.org/MissedAToll (HCTRA will waive the standard $1.50 administrative fee.)
- Drive through and HCTRA will send an invoice to the vehicle’s registered owner, for tolls only with no additional fees attached.
On Wednesday, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo announced the rest of its 2020 would be canceled, Lakewood Church canceled in-person services and the NBA suspended its current season. View the latest coronavirus updates here.
Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.
The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, hot your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.