As businesses reopen their dine-in areas and retail stores in San Marcos, local officials are challenged with a rise in park activity, large group gatherings and businesses not complying with the recommended safety guidelines issued by the city and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
On May 1 and 2, the first days of the first phase of a statewide plan intended to spur a battered economy during the coronavirus pandemic, 465 warnings were issued by local park rangers for people violating park closures, additionally, 39 citations were given during that same time period, according to a report presented by Chase Stapp, director of public safety for San Marcos during a City Council meeting May 5.
Previously, between April 27-30, reports showed that park rangers had issued 89 warnings along with 10 citations for people violating park closures. With businesses reopening and warmer weather, river and park activity has "increased dramatically” Stapp said.
Multiple complaints against restaurants not being in compliance with safety guidelines were reported over the weekend, according to Stapp, but he said it is difficult to know what the local government can do to enforce those safety measures.
“It’s difficult for us to understand how the mayor can issue an order that makes those things required when the governor did not see fit to do so. We continue to study that and seek guidance from the governor’s office,” Stapp said.
According to Stapp, high case counts of coronavirus are what drives park closures, and as long as those keep rising the parks will remain closed. Stapp said there had been 15 new cases of coronavirus in the last two day and those counts are only “on their way up.”