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Local officials implementing new CDC guidelines

Posted at 7:59 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 21:21:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. — There is no vaccine and no cure for COVID-19 yet, but there are ways to stop its spread.

Social distancing has been the most recommended practice, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend taking a step further.

Sunday, the CDC recommended postponing or canceling gatherings of 50 people or more for at least the next eight weeks. That recommendation is geared towards things like conventions, weddings, or other events, which bring people to a city. As for daily life, the city and county are updating their policies about gatherings, in line with other new CDC guidelines.

Saturday, an order limiting gatherings to 500 or less came 15 minutes before doors were to open for a concert at Concrete Street Amphitheater. On Monday, Mayor Joe McComb and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales dropped that number to 250, in line with the new CDC guidelines.

"The goal is to keep places like Nueces County and Corpus Christi free from the virus," said Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni. "We have no cases today."

But will, or can, that order be regulated?

Zanoni said that state law gives the city and county power to enforce the order.

"There are fines that can be issued if somebody violates this order from the county and city," he said. "There's also jail imprisonment that can take place."

Meanwhile, the service industry holds its collective breath. Five states have closed restaurants and bars for everything but take-out and delivery. Several national chains have also done the same.

Gov. Greg Abbott is leaving that decision up to the cities for now, and local leaders said everything is still on the table.

"We're looking at everything," Zanoni said. "We haven't enacted anything like that yet, or we may not at all."

At Sandi's Diner near CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline Hospital, owner Sandra Clark said she has a plan to keep her business going if she's forced to shut her dining room.

"We do not have a drive-thru, but we're going to go ahead and do curbside service," Clark said. "My car hops will be out there ready to bring you homemade chicken fried steak."

City and county officials are also considering holding daily briefings to keep the public better informed with information changing so quickly.