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Coronavirus safety measures at local military bases cause headaches for drivers

Limited access means delays at gates

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Extra safety measures being taken at local military bases in response to the coronavirus pandemic are adding up to a bit of a headache for drivers.

In a weekend news release, Joint Base San Antonio announced that there likely would be delays at all bases including Lackland, Randolph and Fort Sam Houston.

Monday morning, that prediction appeared to come true, particularly at JBSA-Lackland.

At one point, two lanes of traffic heading onto the base were backed up about a quarter mile.

“Welcome to my life,” shouted one driver as he passed a KSAT 12 News camera.

Others declined to talk due to military orders, but they showed the frustration in their facial expressions and honking horns.

The JBSA news release said due to the virus, personnel would be limiting gate access as well as checking drivers’ identification cards through closed windows.

Ignacio Zaragoza watched it all from the takeout window of El Charro de Jalisco restaurant nearby.

“This morning, there was really traffic in the morning since 5:30. There was a line everywhere,” he said.

Zaragoza’s restaurant already has been feeling the effects of new COVID-19-related restrictions.

A city-wide order last week forced him and other restaurant owners in San Antonio to close their dining rooms to customers.

Although his drive-thru and takeout window remain open, Zaragoza said business has been extremely slow.

“What have a lot of (staff) but we don’t have no work for them,” Zaragoza said. “Probably, they’ll only be working once a week, each of them.”

Zaragoza said the traffic backups heading to the base only add to his troubles, keeping the few potential customers away.

“Nobody has time to stop by because they’re late or they’ve been in line for, like, 20 minutes,” he said. “They have no time to come in.”

Soon, he said, it might be his staff who doesn’t come in. If business doesn’t pick up soon, Zaragoza said he may have to shut down.

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, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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