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Beach curfews lifted, some businesses reopen May 1

Pelicans enjoy some time off from humans at Padre Island National Seashore. Beach curfews will be lifted as of Friday, May 1, according to orders from Gov. Gregg Abbott. Courtesy photo

Stay at home orders for Nueces County end at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 1, but the spirit of the original orders remain said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales at the city/county joint daily news briefing Tuesday, April 28, in city hall.

“We have a new mantra: Stay strong to stay safe,” she said. “We can now all enjoy a greater freedom of movement, but we must remember the spirit of the stay-at-home order: what you need to do vs what you want to do. We have not eradicated this virus.”

City and county orders will align with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders, which were outlined during a state-wide press briefing Monday, April 27. Those orders allow restaurants, museums, libraries, malls, and theaters to reopen at 25 percent capacity as of Friday, May 1. Outdoor sports will be allowed with only four participants at a time.

Still remaining closed are bars, hair and nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, gyms, and swimming pools.

City facilities, such as the museums and libraries will not reopen immediately. Mangers are preparing written reopening plans that must be approved and put into action before the public can be allowed back into facilities, said City Manager Peter Zanoni.

He did announce that some of the non-city facilities, such as the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay will not reopen until at least May 18. The Art Museum of South Texas and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History will not reopen until at least June 1.

If the number of COVID-19 cases remains relatively low, a second phase of re-opening the state’s economy will be announced May 15.

In the meantime, Canales “highly” encouraged the continued wearing of masks in public and when social distancing is not possible. She also recommended washing hands for 20 seconds many times a day, not touching your face, and staying home as much as possible.

“There is not an order that makes you do any of these things,” Canales said. “But there is your common sense and your ability to keep you and your family safe. Your are going to have to pretend there is an order. You know in your mind what is the right thing to do.”

She also announced that testing supplies were again running low and that she and other local leaders banded together to request more nucleic acid, an ingredient necessary for local samples to be tested quickly.

“We will still be able to collect samples, but we will have to send them out of the area for testing, which means waiting days for results,” she said.

The 8 p.m. beach curfew will be lifted as of Friday and a Beach Task Force has been formed to create a consistent set of rules for all beaches along the Coastal Bend, whether governed by the city, the state, or the federal government. The task force includes representatives from all levels of government.

Signage will soon go up to let beach goers know what is expected of them. Cars will be able to park side by side, but people will need to maintain social distancing. Canales is also seeking more access points to the beach so people can spread out more. Sand conditions have made it hard for cars without four-wheel-drive to travel past most access points,

“I’m also monitoring the piers,” Canales said. “If it gets too difficult, the pier will not be available.”

The city will hold another briefing to update re-openings at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, on Facebook.

If you think you have the coronavirus, contact the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District at 361-826-7200, and a representative will give you instructions. Check the city’s webpage for more information.

For more tips on how to keep yourself, your workspace, and your home safe, visit the COVID-19 resources webpage at You’ll also find information on the latest news, closures, cancellations, and public orders along with informational links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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