SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The San Antonio City Council has extended the local Public Health Emergency declaration through April 30.
The Stay Home, Work Safe orders were set to expire Thursday, but the extension through April 30 is in line with Bexar County’s orders and the governor’s statewide declaration.
The measure has shut down non-essential businesses and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people. It also orders residents to stay home unless they’re conducting essential activities, such as buying groceries or receiving medical care as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
In the original orders issued by the mayor last month, golf courses were allowed to remain open, but a recent amendment listed them as non-essential.
Some golf course owners believe they should remain open. City Attorney Andy Segovia told the city council that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has the last word on that. He said if any business owners have questions about whether they should remain open, they should contact the governor’s office. If it’s determined at the state level that a business previously deemed non-essential is now considered essential, the governor’s website will be updated with that information.
The extension of San Antonio’s Stay Home orders was approved by City Council Thursday 10-1. Councilwoman Ana Sandoval cast the only dissenting vote.
“This pandemic may be the biggest health and economic challenge of our lifetimes and there is no doubt that the Stay Home, Work Safe Order is necessary to protect the health of the public,” said Sandoval in a statement after the council meeting. “Thus far, the extension of these orders has been the only part of our COVID-19 response City Council has had the opportunity to vote on. And given that there are other critical issues that the Council has not had the opportunity to take action on, I could not support another extension without further discussion and action on those items.
She commends City staff for their hard work and commitment and said the local response, in many ways, has gone above and beyond the measures recommended by the CDC.
“Nonetheless, I believe there are additional actions and strategies outside of the order that the City Council members should discuss and vote on, she added.
The issues of concern include publicizing the availability of alternative isolation accommodations for people who test positive and may not live alone, expanding testing availability and scaling up contact tracing.
“These types of strategies will help us more quickly de-escalate business restrictions and reduce our economic damage,” stated Sandoval. “Until then, I continue to support the spirit of the order and recommend that residents stay home, practice social distancing, and wash hands frequently.”