Home COVID-19 Updates Metrocom braces for COVID-19 financial impact

Metrocom braces for COVID-19 financial impact

Businesses learning to adapt

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Amy Hyatt prepares a sandwich at Four Kings restaurant in Universal City. The eatery was one of 50-plus small businesses awarded the city’s Economic Development Corp. stimulus grant to pay off four months of rent and utilities during the pandemic. Photo by Jose T. Garza III

Randolph Metrocom cities have not seen much of a financial impact from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but San Antonio faces potential budget cuts to compensate for losses.

Meanwhile, as some businesses, public facilities and recreational venues tried reopening during another surge in positive virus cases, communities sought to address more routine governmental matters and help those most adversely affected by the outbreak.

Universal City Mayor John Williams said many residents have taken the crisis and public-health precautions seriously.

“I’ve been impressed by people’s willingness to try and stay within the guidelines,” he added.

Kim Turner, Universal City Industrial Development Corp. executive director, said many local merchants have shown resiliency by maintaining curbside and to-go service during the emergency.

“A lot of businesses are feeling the pinch, but a lot have been able to do the work,” Turner said. She added, July “will tell the tale” about Universal City’s receipts.

The town has not furloughed employees or cut services.

“Our city staff has been unaffected. That’s a good thing,” Williams said.

In neighboring Live Oak, sales-tax revenues from April 2020 declined 37 percent compared to April 2019.

“Regardless of these shortfalls, Live Oak had five really good months to start out the (fiscal) year and we have no doubt that with restrictions being eased up considerably that we will return to the positive with businesses not only reopening, but like Hat Creek Burger (Co.), opening up for the first time in our region,” City Manager Scott Wayman said.

The City Council also welcomed a new member, Ramon Norris Jr. He replaced Anthony Brooks, who died from COVID-19 complications.

Windcrest’s sales-tax revenues were nearly 10 percent higher in June 2020 than June 2019. City Manager Rafael Castillo said corporations such as Rackspace, retailers near Walzem Road and Interstate 35, and industrial ventures along Eisenhauer Road helped keep the town ahead of most other area burgs.

Former Windcrest Councilwoman Sherillyn Flick said when the nearby H-E-B experienced long lines because of capacity rules and supply shortages, many neighbors patronized a local Asian grocery store.

“Our city has fared very well,” she added.

Garden Ridge city government, businesses and civic groups, too, have remained stable. The local Lions Club worked with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center to organize a blood drive.

“Our citizens continue to responsibly employ appropriate (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines,” Mayor Larry Thompson said.

Many Metrocom residents have delayed basic or preventative medical and dental appointments.

Gov. Greg Abbott recently ordered Bexar County hospitals to postpone elective procedures in deference to new COVID-19 positive patients.

“The only medical appointments I’ve canceled myself were my dental cleaning,” said Schertz/Cibolo-area resident Luisa Cano Weiss.

She also dropped routine visits to an ear/nose/throat specialist and a dermatologist.

San Antonio, for its part, is implementing a $191 million plan to boost small-business aid, housing security, workforce development, and bridge the digital divide in North East Independent School District to help students with distance learning.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said residents need help from local government, especially because many have lost their jobs or were furloughed.

“A majority of people have been affected by this economic crisis and they’re teetering on the edge, they need action,” he added. “They need relief.”

While council members endorsed an emergency relief package, some argued for more assistance to smaller companies.

“Small businesses are the backbone of this community. When you look across all the allocations, it’s one of the smallest allocations here,” said Councilman Clayton Perry, who represents the Northeast Side.

While San Antonio works to reopen public facilities, including libraries, with capacity limits and safety measures, city officials acknowledged the upcoming fiscal year looks uncertain. The municipality projects more than a $100 million revenue loss.

“We made the cuts in our budget in order to stay balanced,” City Manager Erik Walsh said.

Regarding public gatherings, large events have been banned as community leaders seek to enforce social-distancing rules and thwart the virus’ spread.

Windcrest, San Antonio and Schertz nixed traditional Fourth of July festivities. But, the latter encouraged residents to stay home and watch a mini-parade of vehicles ferrying city officials and staff through the streets.

Find this story and more at www. localcommunitynews.com.

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