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Vehicles Back on Port Aransas Beaches

Vehicles are back on Port Aransas beaches after Mayor Charles Bujan said the city could no longer afford to enforce the county's executive order banning anything with four wheels from driving or parking on the shoreline. Courtesy photo

As of Sunday, Aug. 9, Port Aransas stopped enforcing the Nueces County executive order banning vehicles from beaches and reopened access roads.

“The city can no longer afford providing 24 hour day policing of the county beaches closure order,” Mayor Charles Bujan wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. “We have depleted all of our overtime budgets.”

Since the vehicle ban, the city’s streets near beach access points have been clogged with parked cars, some blocking residents' driveways and others pulling into yards.

“The county beach closure has created a major life safety issue in regards to the in-town beach parking being completely out of control and blocking streets to EMS access and Fire Dept trucks responding to emergencies,” Bujan wrote in the Facebook post. “Effective this morning August 9th, the city is no longer enforcing the county beach closure order.”

Beach closures as ordered by Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales are set to expire on Aug. 17, after an extension from the original expiration date of Aug. 1. A major uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths following Memorial Day weekend led officials to close the beaches for the Fourth of July holiday.

The numbers improved after Independence Day but began to climb later in July, so Canales again closed beaches to discourage out-of-town visitors and help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On the day Bujan ordered that beaches in his city reopen to vehicles, the county reported 1,171 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths — by far the highest number of new cases and among the lowest number of deaths in recent weeks.

Currently, 290 people are in the hospital with the disease, 120 of those in intensive care.

As of Monday morning, Aug. 10, Canales had not responded to the reopening of Port Aransas beaches. She told reporters on Sunday she would be meeting with city officials to discuss the issue this week.

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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