Port Aransas mayor: City no longer enforcing beach closure order

Beaches closed to vehicles due to COVID-19; curfew in effect

People gather on the beach for the Memorial Day weekend in Port Aransas, Texas, Saturday, May 23, 2020. Beachgoers are being urged to practice social distancing to guard against COVID-19. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The mayor of Port Aransas says the city can no longer afford to implement the county beach closure order that was issued in July to help curb the effects of COVID-19.

Mayor Charles Bujan on Sunday issued a statement on Facebook that said the city has “depleted all of our overtime budgets” in providing 24-hour policing of the beaches.

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“The county beach closure has created a major life safety issue in regards to the in-town beach parking being completely out of control and blocking streets to EMS access and Fire Dept trucks responding to emergencies,” he wrote on Facebook.

FYI: The city can no longer afford providing 24 hour day policing of the county beaches closure order. We have depleted...

Posted by Mayor Bujan Information Page For Port Aransas Citizens on Sunday, August 9, 2020

The mayor said as of Sunday morning, the city would no longer enforce the beach closure order.

Beaches at Port Aransas, Padre Island, Corpus Christi closed to vehicles, curfew in place

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales had ordered beaches to stay closed to vehicles and golf carts as the area tried to clamp down on a spiking COVID-19 case count.

The order forces the closure of vehicle access points at beaches within the county, which encompasses Port Aransas, Padre Island and Corpus Christi.

Pedestrian access at beaches and parks, however, is still allowed. The beaches are under curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

People with physical disabilities or disabled veterans are allowed to use golf carts on beaches.

The order is in effect until 6 a.m. Aug. 17, unless modified, extended or rescinded.

In Corpus Christi, 85 infants were infected with COVID-19 as of July. That number has nearly doubled.

Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs told KIII in Corpus Christi that the department began to see a diminished outcome.

Police officers received pushback from the community, he said, and they would have traffic and illegal parking problems.

He told the TV station that “it finally reached a boiling point where our resources could no longer keep up with the response.”

Canales told KIII that she would be meeting with Port Aransas officials to discuss the issue.

Nueces County has reported 15,244 total cases of the novel coronavirus and 236 deaths.

About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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