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Port Aransas limits fishing, beach activities

Sunbathers adhering to social distancing enjoy the beach the week before Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan closed the city’s seashore to anything that does not involve exercise. Staff photo

No fishing and no sitting on the beach in Port Aransas are two of six restrictions the city’s mayor added to the stay-at-home order signed by Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales on Wednesday, March 25. The measures are designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic levels, said Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan.

“Because of the uniqueness of our island and beach city, these additional orders apply to Port Aransas,” he said.

The order effectively closes the beaches in Port Aransas except for people on the move.

“Movement exercise, such as walking, running, biking, yoga, water sports, or other similar physical activity exercise on the beach is allowed,” reads a post on Mayor Bujan’s “Information Page for Port Aransas Citizens.” “Otherwise, no person shall be allowed on the beach.”

Another order defines RV parks as residences, as does the county order, but it further states that no new RVs may be moved into the city. Those that leave cannot return.

Restrictions on beach camping include tents, vehicles, “or another type of enclosure or no enclosure,” the order reads.

The fishing restriction bans anglers from the shore “whether from the ship channel, jetties, or beach.” Fishing guides may only go on small trips of one or two people.

New short-term rentals are also prohibited, unless the renters are in the city on essential business.

“Businesses should review the (County) Judge’s order to make sure you understand what essential business is versus non-essential business,” Bujan’s order concludes at number six.

“All of us will make it through this,” he wrote at the end of the post. “We are a strong and determined people and we will do what needs to be done!”

The Port Aransas City Council held a truncated meeting March 23 to discuss what Bujan has now made law in the city. Opinions were varied on the council and the discussions brisk and even sometimes brusk, but they were cut short when City Manager Dave Parsons delivered a message from Canales. Parsons took a phone call from the judge during the meeting. She had been watching remotely.

“Something is coming imminently from the county,” Parsons said. “I would recommend we hold off and wait and see what comes out of the county tomorrow. It will pertain to what we are discussing.”

The stay-at-home order was issued two days later, followed the same day by the mayor’s additions. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 26, and is due to end at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, unless it is extended.

To keep up with the latest local COVID-19 news, visit CCBizNews.com/covid-19.

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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