Business owner: River Walk looks like ‘the apocalypse’

Dismal downturn on River Walk due to COVID-19 fears

SAN ANTONIO – Once the place to visit, along with the Alamo, San Antonio’s famed River Walk “looks like the apocalypse,” said one business owner.

“It’s completely dead, short of the tumbleweeds, which would be appropriate in Texas,” said Terry Corless, CEO of Mad Dogs Restaurant Group.

Corless blamed the fears over COVID-19 for what’s happened to the same River Walk known for its throngs of tourists and memorable river parades that draws tens of thousands of locals.

Desolate photos show San Antonio River Walk, other tourist spots during coronavirus pandemic

His four River Walk restaurants, including Mad Dogs British Pub, are now closed along with dozens of other bars and restaurants.

“You drive through the downtown sector, and it’s really a ghost town. It’s pretty scary,” Corless said. “It’s a horrendous situation. It’s unfathomable.”

Corless said his group is in better position than smaller establishments.

“But it’s still extremely, trying times," he said.

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Corless said within his group of restaurants, 200 people are now out of work.

“We’ve been able to retain none of them, other than with the promise that they are part of our team, they’re part of our family moving forward,” he said.

But Corless said it’s unknown when that will happen, but he’s ready for a comeback.

“I guarantee you the Mad Dogs group will return, I guarantee you the River Walk will survive," he said.

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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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.