The state’s easing of restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is allowing more Metrocom businesses to reopen, while local programs continue offering assistance.
Meanwhile, area cities, counties, schools, organizations and commercial establishments are also helping people most adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In mid-May, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and Bexar County continued to test, treat and isolate new patients.
“What the state is looking for is hot spots,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said, referring to nursing homes, jails and meatpacking plants, where localized outbreaks have occurred.
Bexar County Commissioners Court voted to allocate millions in federal relief and other funds to help small businesses.
Local enterprises have taken matters into their own hands to assist the less fortunate during the emergency.
COVID-19 is a novel strain of coronavirus, which started in late 2019 in China before spreading globally.
Schertz-based online grocer and wholesale food distributor Food Related took orders from displaced area restaurant employees and responded by providing those workers with free nutrition kits.
Maggie Titterington, The Chamber president, said none of her group’s nearly 520 members have closed permanently despite financial woes.
“Our hardest struggle was helping them to get access to CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act loans/grants,” she said.
Some members of The Chamber, which serves the Cibolo, Selma and Schertz business sector, opted to stay closed when Gov. Greg Abbott in early May let mercantile outlets open at 25 percent capacity.
Many felt their operations or employee situations couldn’t accommodate such limitations.
“The only challenge or concern that our chamber has now is continuing the smooth implementations of the ever-evolving regulations as we reopen the way we do business, as well as keeping our business community abreast of those updates,” Titterington added.
Abbott later relaxed more restraints, permitting businesses to reach 50 percent capacity with social distancing in place. Several required customers and employees to wear face masks if inside, although grocery giant H-E-B later said protective coverings aren’t required for patrons.
Local municipalities have responded to the pandemic in varying measures. Windcrest police, among other first responders, have checked on elderly neighbors.
“It has been clear to me that our citizens heeded the guidance to stay at home and be careful when they were out. We have experienced some cases in our city, but no deaths that I am aware of,” Windcrest Mayor Dan Reese said at press time.
He noted the town’s Economic Development Corp. has helped Windcrest merchants comply with state and local requirements.
“We will not know the extent of the effects on sales-tax income for Windcrest for about another month. We are somewhat encouraged by some of the partial reports we have received,” he added.
State officials have already reported a major drop in overall sales-tax receipts for Texas since the outbreak of the virus.
In May, Live Oak’s public playgrounds, basketball courts, fitness equipment and the skate park remained closed.
The staff and administrators at Methodist Hospital Northeast in Live Oak covered a tree with letters thanking neighbors for their support during the pandemic. Folks are invited to drop by and read the missives. The medical personnel lauded the community for “overwhelming love and support.”
Live Oak’s fishing holes, disc-golf course and public trails are open so long as visitors stay 6-feet apart.
Universal City reopened its public parks May 18 with social distancing and limits on crowds. However, the Northview Splashpad, Cimarron Park Clubhouse and team-sports fields were unavailable.
Garden Ridge City Hall returned to in-person service on May 18, too, with limited hours of public access and social distancing.
Other forms of city operations have stayed largely untouched by the outbreak.
Meanwhile, schoolhouses remained shuttered through the end of the academic year, with students engaged in distance learning or picking up packets.
Yet, some traditions continued, albeit with alterations. At the Clemens High School parking lot, the institution’s annual breakfast celebrating the top 20 graduates featured protective face masks.
Places of learning are helping pupils gird for what’s next.
Alamo Colleges District has been offering emergency resources for students who need temporary assistance.
Judson Independent School District Superintendent Jeanette Ball stated in a message to parents she and her team have a goal “to have lots of plans as to what could happen and have multiple plans ready so that we are prepared regardless of what actually happens.”
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