The Tri-County continues to shut down although no cases of the coronavirus have yet been identified here. Texas remains under a State of Disaster as ordered by Governor Greg Abbott, and all schools in the state remain closed.
The City of Alpine and Brewster County last week closed all hotels, motels, RV parks, and campgrounds in their jurisdictions, and issued deadlines for visitors to vacate. Both made exceptions for guests who had established residence at those establishments and for active military, law enforcement, emergency services personnel, healthcare professionals, and others providing necessary services.
The county also made an exception for those who had been in place for at least 14 days.
As of press time Wednesday, no COVID-19 cases had been identified in the Tri-County, and Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 13,000 tested, with 715 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.
In his Tuesday afternoon address, Texas Governor Greg Abbott stressed that posted COVID-19 statistics could vary on different sites since reporting times may lag from various entities across the state. He ordered that all entities must now report coronavirus cases daily.
“We have a goal in this state, and that is to assure that everyone is doing everything possible to mitigate and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Abbott. “We have a country-wide goal, and that is over the next 15 days, we want to slow the spread of the coronavirus in our country.”
Gatherings of more than 10 are still prohibited in the state, bars and gyms are closed, and restaurants that remain open can offer delivery or takeout only. Abbott said the best way to prevent virus spread was to just stay home.
Abbott has so far resisted a statewide lockdown. His main message was that urban areas are under pressure to keep up with the pandemic as it spreads, but most of the state was not yet affected.
Locally, the Presidio Port of Entry is open for essential travel only between the U.S and Mexico. According to Customs and Border Patrol Public Affairs Officer Greg Davis, permitted travel includes official trade, medical and educational needs, and other cases at the officer’s discretion, as well as for medical and emergency personnel. U.S. citizens with documentation are permitted to return to the states from Mexico.
He noted that border traffic was down 70% since President Donald Trump’s essential travel only order, and Davis urged citizens to minimize unofficial travel.
“If it’s not essential, please don’t do it because the goal here is to stop the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
All Tri-County schools have provided online classes, with other study arrangements made for students who might not have access to computers or the internet.
Alpine ISD curbside meals for any child in the community ages 1-18 will continue daily from noon-1 p.m. Meals will be delivered curbside to vehicles at the elementary school, and the children must be present in the vehicle to receive meals.
“Our state leadership is doing everything they can to keep our communities safe and well,” said Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky McCutchen. “AISD will continue to provide instructions and lunch to all of our students during this time. While we truly want our students back in school, we understand the well-being of everyone takes precedence at this time.”
Also during the school closures, McDonald’s in Alpine will provide free breakfast to the first 70 students who show up from 8-9 a.m. weekdays at the table by the restaurant entrance. The student must be present to receive the breakfast.
Alpine Public Library is closed, but many services are still available. Library cardholders can manage their accounts by logging in to access all kinds of digital opportunities, along with reserving books and DVDs. For copies, scans, and faxing, call the library at 432-837-2621 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
At Sul Ross State University, all offices and buildings remain closed to the public until further notice. Face-to-face classes have been canceled for the remainder of the semester, and remote classes are underway.