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How stay-at-home orders affect non-essential businesses

Posted at 6:51 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 19:53:49-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many essential businesses have begun partially operating.

Meanwhile, the Corpus Christi Police Department says its constantly checking non-essential businesses to make sure they are not violating the stay-at-home orders.

Deputy Chief Billy Breedlove says the department receives about a dozen calls a day about non-essential businesses still operating. The department then does check-ins on about 50 businesses to make sure they are not still open.

"Our process all along has been to educate the individuals of the locations, and with that we usually get compliance," according to the police.

Breedlove says if officers return to find non-essential businesses staying open, they can be issued citations.

One local vape shop owner says his shop was taking precautions, but was shut down anyway because it’s deemed non-essential.

Andrew McMahon, co-owner of The Vapor Vault Corpus Christi, said he has two locations, one in Corpus Christi and one in Rockport.

The Rockport Police Chief has told McMahon's associates there to shut down that location because it is not essential.

"We were allowing one person in at a time and we were also doing curb-curbside, and we were trying to limit the spread of germs and all that stuff," McMahon said.

McMahon said vape shops should be essential, helping those who crave nicotine,

"We had customers asking us, ‘hey are you open, can you deliver, can you do this,'" he said. "Basically we just have to tell them no, we can’t. It’s not allowed by most of the city officials."

He says demand is down for his business since COVID-19 hit. But he would like city officials to revisit orders for businesses like his since he feels they are an essential business.

In the meantime, he says his business will evolve and "make changes, and listen to what our customers have to say ... try to help them out as much as possible and see where we can go from there."

CCPD estimates 99 percent of businesses in the area are in compliance with the stay-at-home orders.

If someone from the public observers a non-essential business operating, CCPD says to call (361) 886-2600