San Marcos’ Plan for COVID Relief and Uncertain Future

By Ralph Elizondo

Over the past couple of months, the country has been impacted by the novel Coronavirus. The pandemic has put many people out of jobs, made it difficult for some to keep up with bills, and has created problems we haven’t seen in nearly a century.

Local businesses are doing everything they can to make the best of the situation. Tirelessly working and sanitizing their establishments in order to keep up with CDC guidelines.

The economy is suffering due to unemployment and businesses shutting their doors. The only way we will get through these uncertain times is to make sure we have a plan that will slowly get us back to normalcy. There isn’t much to do but to realize we are all in this together.

According to KSAT Digital Journalist Jakob Rodriguez, almost 20 San Marcos businesses were temporarily closed due to the rise in Coronavirus cases.

Some businesses closed because a worker contracted the virus. Others were closed to get sanitized and disinfected by a professional cleaning crew. Some were either shut down because they were not in compliance with CDC guidelines or simply because they would rather be on the safe side and self-quarantine.

According to an article published by the Community Impact Newspaper, Hays county has reported a total of 5,665 lab-confirmed cases of COVID19 as of September 15th.  Hays County officials say the number may be higher due to non-compliance from residents in reporting if they have COVID19 or have had the virus.

This type of information should not be embarrassing to share. People need to know if you have been around others who have shown symptoms or have contracted the virus themselves.

For example, at my old job, two of my co-workers used to hang out outside of work all the time. They were close friends who had known each other for a long time. Come to find out, he had the virus and did not share that information with her. 

Word got around, and as soon as my manager found out he closed the store down to be disinfected and sanitized. I was impacted financially by not being able to return to work for 2 weeks. We all had to get tested for the virus and thankfully we all could return to work.  

Unfortunately, the girl who hung out with him outside of work contracted the virus.

Both of them could not return to work until they tested negative.

The reason I share this is to express how important it is to be mindful of those around you. If you feel ill or have symptoms stay home and away from others.

Some restaurants have adjusted the way they conduct business since they are limited to fifty percent occupancy or are strictly take out/curbside only.

Torchy’s tacos have adapted to the changes by launching the “Come and Takeout Tuesday” campaign to try and drive more of a shift toward takeout. This is just one of many creative strategies businesses have had to come up with to draw customers out of their homes. Businesses have been struggling with the stay-at-home order since it prevents customers from dining out.

So how do we as a community come back from this and when will things get back to normal?

The City of San Marcos has developed a COVID19 Business Economic Recovery Plan that is supposed to prepare businesses on how to reopen safely and get back to work. The goal is to create an atmosphere that is rich and diverse in culture that promotes economic and educational opportunities.

The plan goes into detail and talks about its plans for financial assistance, support for commercial and residential tenants, marketing tools and resources, and Business-friendly policies. Highlighting the actions of the city and partners across the region on supporting the business community.

What does this have to do with you? Local business owners and employees are essential to the community and for this plan to work, everyone has to play their part. That means keeping up with sanitation schedules, washing hands periodically, and wearing face-coverings when required.

This pandemic has pushed the city to great lengths and is not showing any sign of disappearing anytime soon. The future is uncertain but if we all do our part to minimize contact with others and take care of ourselves, we can slow the spread of the virus.

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