Corpus Christi Beaches Closed to Cars for Holiday
The bang has gone out of the Fourth of July in Corpus Christi, which has canceled its annual fireworks display and closed beaches to vehicular traffic for five days, including the holiday weekend. Golf carts and all-terrain vehicles are included in the ban. Padre Island National Seashore will be closed to the public from 8 p.m. Thursday July 2 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 7. Meanwhile, Mustang Island State Park will be open but is booked to a limited capacity to meet COVID-19 restrictions. A decision on whether vehicles will be allowed on the beach at the state park will be made soon. Also in the Nueces County Executive Order, which was signed Wednesday, July 1, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales amended the mandatory mask requirement to include all commercial entities and public spaces to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. “I cannot ignore the advice of the three major hospital officials,” Canales said. “When your hospitals say we need masks everywhere, otherwise we will be at 100 percent capacity in a matter of days, I must react.” Only nine hospital beds were available, announced Nueces County/Corpus Christi Health Director Annette Rodriguez at a joint press briefing in City Hall on June 30. New COVID-19 cases totaled 362 on Wednesday, July 1, the highest count in a single day yet, overwhelming the high on June 30 of 274. So far, nine deaths have been caused by COVID-19. Currently, 170 people are in the hospital, 58 of those in intensive care. The numbers for Nueces County surpassed all other Texas metropolitan areas in acceleration of the novel coronavirus over the past seven days. Due to the strain on hospital beds, the county asked for and received permission from state officials to dedicate a unit at Christus Spahn Hospital Memorial exclusively for COVID-19 patients. An assessment of the facility showed it needed some repairs, which should take about 30 days, according to Canales. Repairs will cost $3 million. Of that, $1.5 million will be used to install a negative pressure system that prevents cross-contamination from room to room. The county will be reimbursed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The beach order signed July 1 also closes beaches to the public at 8 p.m. each night and reopens them at 6 a.m. the next day. The new curfew runs July 1-11. Vehicles will be banned from beaches from Port Aransas to Padre Island National Seashore beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, July 3, and ending at 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 7. Bob Hall Pier and RV parks will remain open. The city is also closing eight parks: Bill Witt, West Guth, Manuel Q. Salinas, The Water’s Edge, Cole, Labonte, Lakeview, and Parker. McGee and North beaches also will be closed as will Sunrise Beach RV Park at Lake Corpus Christi Closure. “We are here because we made a great error,” said Canales about people not taking the proper precautions to protect against the virus' spread. “Our behavior completely changed, and when we changed our behavior, this is the consequence. We have had a tremendous community spread, so much so that contract tracing is almost pointless.” She also reported that Nueces County was added to the list of counties where Gov. Greg Abbott has banned elective surgeries. “This is a very serious situation,” she continued. “Our governor would not do this unless we are in a serious situation. This is all in the best interest of our public health and safety.” To follow the latest news on COVID-19 in Corpus Christi, check the Corpus Christi Business News'COVID-19 Resource Page.
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