‘We have to have zero tolerance for fools’: Mayor cautions business owners defying stay-home order

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/8/20

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing Wednesday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 554 COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths in Bexar County, as of Wednesday. The mayor also reported 132 travel-related cases, 155 community transmission, 74 cases under investigation and 193 close-contact. He said 84 patients are in the hospital, 50 are in intensive care, 41 are on ventilators and 92 have recovered.
  • The mayor said the point of the stay-home orders is to protect the community, and the orders are in place to make sure that happens and people stay at home. If someone is openly defying that and jeopardizing the health of the community, then they are going to be dealt with, the mayor said regarding Planet K’s owner. “We have to have zero tolerance for fools," Nirenberg said.
  • Nirenberg discussed the two new COVID-19 deaths from the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center outbreak. Ten people have died as a result of that outbreak.
  • Nirenberg said city representatives visited the Franklin Park at TPC Parkway facility, where a resident tested positive for COVID-19. He said the case was travel-related, and there were seven negative results from residents. No staff members were infected, he said. The mayor said he believes the situation at the Franklin facility is contained. He said he was unsure if there are tests pending.
  • Nirenberg said the city is working to help the 270 furloughed city employees with health care and get unemployment benefits. He said he hopes the city will not have to furlough anymore employees.
  • The mayor also addressed cuts to the city’s arts programs. He said the decrease in revenue from the Hotel Occupancy Tax affected programs funded by it. He also said he wants to protect the arts and is working to access emergency relief funds for those programs.
  • Wolff and Nirenberg both said the city and county will be more fiscally conservative with next year’s budgets. Currently, Bexar County has a hiring freeze and has temporarily suspended capital improvements projects.
  • Wolff said the county is seeing an uptick in domestic violence cases. He said 50 people are seeking protective orders in the county.
  • Wolff said the county has sent more personal protective equipment to health care workers in suburban cities within the county.
  • Wolff said COVID-19 test results are coming in as soon as 24 hours from some labs.
  • Both leaders thanked first responders, health care workers and city and county workers on the front lines.

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.

County executive order in effect until April 30:

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About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes breaking news, COVID-19 coverage, personal finance stories on the "Money: It's Personal" series, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" series.