SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s Note: Watch the entire news conference in the video player above. Watch our 6 p.m. news coverage in the player below.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued a new emergency declaration Wednesday, ordering bars and restaurant dining rooms to close amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurants will still be allowed to operate drive-thru, deliver and takeout orders for curbside pickup. Grocery stores, gas stations and other vital businesses will also remain open.
As part of the declaration, retail businesses — like gyms, bingo parlors, bowling alleys, health studios, theaters and commercial amusement businesses — are barred from operating while the declaration is in effect.
“We are now entering the most difficult phase in the rapidly changing battle against the virus,” Nirenberg said.
Nirenberg’s declaration follows similar actions in cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas. Officials hope the closures will help contain the spread of the virus.
Restaurants and stores that violate the emergency order could pay civil penalties and fines, Nirenberg said.
The declaration will last for seven days unless extended by city council.
According to numbers provided by the city on Tuesday evening, health officials have identified at least 11 COVID-19 cases in Bexar County. Four were travel-related, four were contracted through close contact with the travelers, and three are under investigation.
Nirenberg said Wednesday he expects those numbers to grow as more tests are conducted.
However, despite the likely increase in reported COVID-19 cases, Nirenberg urged the public to remain calm. He stressed that residents still do not need to hoard food and supplies.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020.
Also on Wednesday, the county announced sweeping changes to county offices, including the jail. Read more about those here.
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