Rivers unusually calm in New Braunfels as coronavirus cases surge

Pandemic forces more closures, affecting restaurants, bars, and tube/raft rentals

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The coronavirus pandemic has forced more closures in Texas.

Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Friday, which limits restaurant capacity to 50% starting Monday, and closes other places, like bars and tube/raft rental businesses.

The drastic measures come as Abbott announced the COVID-19 positivity rate in the state has increased above 10%.

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott says bars must close by noon, restaurants to scale back capacity

Coley Reno owns Texas Tubes, a tube rental company on the Comal River.

He began business as usual Friday, until he learned about the executive order. It’s déjà vu for Reno who just reopened May 8th, after shutting down on March 23 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

”The first thing I thought about was my employees... I got about 30 employees, 31 employees. You know, they’re out of work now,” Reno said.

Corby Circle drove 4 1/2 hours from Wiley, Texas, northeast of Dallas, hoping to cool off in the water, only to realize a change of plans.

”So we’re just kind of driving around looking for something to do. It looks like everything seems to be closed,” Circle said.

The reason? A surge in coronavirus cases. On Friday, Comal County officials announced 48 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, bringing the all-time county total to 552.

RELATED: 22 residents at Comal County nursing home have now tested positive for COVID-19

Officials said a large percentage of the new cases are comprised of residents in their 20′s and 30′s. While Reno understands the concern, and the need for some businesses to close, he doesn’t feel businesses that provide access to rivers should be included in the group.

”I think that’s one of the safest things you can do. I’d much rather do this and be outdoors in the wind and and the sunshine than be indoors anywhere,” Reno said.

It’s unclear when businesses forced to shut down will be able to reopen.

In the meantime, if you are in Comal County and want to get tested for the coronavirus, you can call the local COVID-19 hotline at 830-221-1120.

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