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Nueces Co. slowly reopens for business

Packed beaches over the weekend of April 18-19 has Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales concerned about the spread of the coronavirus. She appointed a Beach Task Force to study the issue. Courtesy photo

Nueces County began planning its phased reopening of businesses closed by COVID-19 restrictions immediately after hearing Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest orders April 27. Stay-at-home orders in Nueces County will be lifted as of Friday, May 1. Retail, restaurants, and a handful of other businesses previously deemed non-essential will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity. Bars, salons, spas, and tattoo parlors will remain closed for at least two more weeks.

“This is the right way to reopen and the responsible way to reopen,” said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales at the city/county daily news briefing Monday, just a few hours after the governor’s announcement. “As we see five new cases come into our community in a day, after so many days with zero, we have to take this is as a solemn warning. Things are not back to normal. This is our attempt to save us from a second disaster.”

The cities of Corpus Christi and Port Aransas began immediately by lifting restrictions on short-term rentals. As of Tuesday, April 28, short-term rentals may again take reservations from out-of-town visitors.

More announcements are planned for the 5 p.m. Tuesday briefing.

The Nueces County commissioners recessed to hear Gov. Abbott’s new orders. Canales said the county will be aligning its orders to fit with the governor’s. She warned that the disease would not change its behaviors on Friday morning just because restrictions were being lifted.

“We are going to have to take on more personal responsibility,” she said. “I know we can do it. We know how important it is for our economy to survive. It is incumbent for us to take this seriously.”

She asked that businesses be vigilant about how many people they allow in the stores and that everyone continue to social distance and wash their hands. She also urged wearing masks, although masks are not mandatory in Nueces County.

The governor’s orders are being posted for easy access on the city’s coronavirus information website.

“I was very optimistic in what the guv had to say,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb. “Success depends on what we do in terms of response. Phase one is a real short window, and it’s a good test to see what happens before going into phase two.”

McComb did warn, however, that with increased testing, as the governor promised, the number of COVID-19 cases will go up. He said that would be measured against the number of tests to judge whether or not relaxed restrictions were leading to another surge of cases.

“If the numbers don’t make an upturn, we will expand to fifty percent capacity in two weeks,” he said. “If the numbers go in the wrong direction, well, we don’t want to get back into another order. You’ve been wonderful so far. We continue to request your participation in staying safe.”

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.

If you think you have the coronavirus, please 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.

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