Thursday, March 26, 2020

San Antonio City Council Approves Stay-at-Home Order as Staff Warns of Skyrocketing Unemployment

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 3:09 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Ron Nirenberg (left) and Councilman Clayton Perry listen to a speaker at a recent council meeting. - RHYMA CASTILLO
  • Rhyma Castillo
  • Mayor Ron Nirenberg (left) and Councilman Clayton Perry listen to a speaker at a recent council meeting.
San Antonio City Council unanimously approved Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s shelter-in-place order Thursday, formalizing the requirement for most residents to stay home through April 9.

Nirenberg's order went into effect Wednesday, issued alongside a similar measure by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff to slow the spread of COVID-19. The mayor needed council's OK to extend his directive for longer than 7 days.

At the meeting, Nirenberg said the sooner San Antonians distance themselves to slow the spread of the pandemic, the sooner the city can begin recovering from its health effects and economic devastation.

“If we want to get to the reparations required for both, we must begin working together to protect the health of our neighbors,” he said.

During testimony, Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez warned that the prolonged shutdown and resulting business closures could drive San Antonio's unemployment as high as 14%. 

What's more, the city stands to lose nearly $160 million in revenue due to lower tax collections and postponed events at facilities such as the Alamodome.

The vote came as Bexar County reported its third COVID-19 death and 84 cases. So far, Texas has reported nearly 1,400 cases and 18 deaths.

Four members of council attended the meeting remotely, all either self-quarantining after travel or concerned about lessening the spread of the virus. 

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