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City discusses stricter measures due to COVID-19 spike

A letter is being drafted that will petition the governor for home rule, which means the city can reinstate penalties on individuals for not wearing masks and take better control of the pandemic.
Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 10:16 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The City of Laredo is taking matters into their own hands, now that COVID numbers are at a high threat to the community.

Last night, council passed several motions including petitioning for home rule and requiring certain businesses to implement contact tracing measures.

The City of Laredo must go back to square one now that positive numbers are spiking and hospitalizations are increasing.

During Tuesday’s meeting, City Council agreed that enough is enough.

“Normalcy has not been re-established,” said Doctor Marte Martinez. “We are not back to where we were before. We’re not at baseline. This is very real and people are going to get sick.”

“Had we not deviated from our original path we probably wouldn’t be seeing what we’re seeing right now,” said George Altgelt. “We were on the right track. Governor abbott derailed our efforts, and now we along with the rest of the state are paying consequences.”

A letter is being drafted that will petition the governor for home rule, which means the city can reinstate penalties on individuals for not wearing masks and take better control of the pandemic.

“We’re to petition the governor to allow cities to open business occupancy limits at own pace, and that the city should be able to open up businesses at our own pace based on the number of cases in the community,” said Robert Eads.

Additionally, bars, maquinitas, and bingos will now be required to obtain customers contact information.

“Businesses are to start getting names, phone numbers to get an idea of who is going into the businesses for contact tracing purposes,” said Eads. “Penalties for the establishment who is not documenting would be a $1,000 per violation. The business must turnover the information to the Health Department. Failure to submit on a weekly basis would also results in a $1,000 fine.”

The Health Department will also being issuing travel advisories to those traveling in or out of the city or to hotspots. It will be attached to the color coded alert.

Additionally, council is hoping to work with businesses on a resolution to require temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations at front entrances, as well as requiring a face covering to be worn at gyms unless there is a form of separation between people or health excuse.

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