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May 1, 2020
Dear Neighbors,
Health Experts Release Report on Reopening City

This week, the COVID-19 Health Transition Team released a report that outlines how we can reopen our community as safely as possible. The team of medical and public health professionals presented the report to the first-ever joint meeting of the City Council and County Commissioners Court. I served as the City Council liaison to this team.
 
The team relied on the best available research to answer the questions: What steps do we need to take to better deal with this pandemic? How will we know when it is appropriate to reopen the community? How can businesses and community spaces remain safe as they reopen?
 
To better address the pandemic, the team recommends increasing our testing capacity, recruiting more people to conduct contact tracing, and sharing more data with the public, among other things. 
To help us decide when to begin reopening, the team identified measures of progress that indicate if we are on the right track. These indicators include:

  • A sustained decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19 over the course of 14 days;

  • The ability to perform tests for the virus in all people with symptoms of COVID-19, their close contacts, and those who work with the public;

  • Enough staff conducting effective contract tracing and can identify all close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19 and offer testing to those for whom it is indicated;

  • A prepared healthcare system that can safely care for all patients, and has sufficient hospital capacity, workforce, and protective equipment for healthcare workers.
 
When we have enough signs of progress, the report recommends opening the community in phases, starting with spaces and activities that pose lower risk of transmitting COVID-19. For example, retail stores should be among the first to reopen because people aren’t close to each other for a long time while in a store and because retail stores can limit the number of people they let in at a time. On the other hand, indoor bars would be considered higher risk because people tend to be in very close to each other for a longer period of time. Here is an example of the risk assessment the team conducted:
The report goes on to make additional recommendations to reduce the health disparities in our community. The report recommends, for example, setting up a mobile testing unit to make tests more easily available in neighborhoods that have been hit hard by the virus.
 
The report is available here for you to view. You can also watch the presentation given to City Council and Commissioners Court here .
 
Governor Moves to Reopen Businesses

The Governor announced his intention to reopen some businesses and community spaces on the same day that the Health Transition Team released its report. The timing has created some confusion, so I want to take a moment to explain the key differences.
 
  • The Governor’s order is law. The Health Transition Team’s report is a series of recommendations specifically meant to help City and County leaders navigate the pandemic.

  • The Governor’s order allows certain businesses and activities to resume today, May 1. The Health Transition Team report does not recommend reopening any activities on a given date. It recommends opening when certain community health safety indicators have been met.

  • The Governor’s order is based on a distinction between essential and non-essential businesses and community spaces. The new order adds new categories to the list of permitted business activities. The health report does not determine what is an essential and a non-essential businesses. It recommends a phases reopening. The recommended order of reopening is based on the potential health risk of a given space or activity. The less the health risk of a given activity, the sooner it is recommended to open.

  • The phases mentioned in the Governor’s order and the health report are different. Phase 1 in the Governor’s order refers to the first phase of opening businesses, while Phase 2 in the health report is the phase when we begin to reopen businesses.

  • The Health Transition Team’s report is based on public health research and pays specific attention to how the virus has disproportionately hurt Hispanic and African American communities.

According to the Governor’s Order, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, libraries and malls are allowed to reopen today, May 1, at 25% capacity. However, they are not required to open. For example, the San Antonio Public Library is allowed to open today, but the City decided not to do so yet.
 
Additionally, the Governor’s Order does not require face masks, but does encourages people to wear them. I want to echo this recommendation, not just because it is better for the health of our community, but also because businesses may require you to wear them.
 
You can read the Governor’s Order here .
 
Council Extends Stay Home Order

If you are having trouble keeping track of all the different parts, you are not alone!
 
Yesterday, the City Council voted to extend the Mayor’s Stay Home, Work Safe Order until May 19. The Stay Home Order aligns with the Governor’s Order, so there is no conflict there.
 
Additionally, Judge Wolff has extended his executive order that suspends evictions and foreclosures until May 18.
We will get through this, together, San Antonio.
Yours in public service,
COVID-19 Updates

  • The City of San Antonio has reported new updates as of April 30.Currently, there are 1,374 cases of COVID-19. Of these, 638 of these individuals have made a full recovery. Unfortunately, we have had 48 deaths attributed to the virus in San Antonio.

  • The City of San Antonio has created a COVID-19 Website The website provides up-to-date information and resources to help residents and businesses respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


  • As of April 30, the Stay Home, Work Safe requires that all people 10 years or older must continue to wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place or business when it is difficult to maintain six feet of distance. Per the Governor’s newest order, the City cannot impose a penalty for failing to comply. However, the City strongly recommends their use for the protection of public health.

  • Governor Abbott’s order has included the following businesses to reopen as of May 1, at 25 percent occupancy: retail stores, dine-in restaurants, movie theaters, shopping malls, museums, libraries (at this time, City-owned libraries remained closed), golf courses and places of worship. The Governor’s order does not mandate the opening of these facilities; however, they may reopen if they choose to.

  • The Governor’s order indicates that bars, gyms, bowling alleys, arcades, public swimming pools, massage establishments, tattoo and piercing studios and cosmetology and barber ships must remain closed.

  • For information on what businesses are deemed "essential" by the state of Texas, click here.

  • Please continue practicing social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Please remember that for now, public or private gatherings with people outside of one's household are expressly prohibited by the Stay Home, Work Safe Order.

Community Updates

  • Are you in need of utility assistance? You may qualify for the Residential Energy Assistance Partnership (REAP) by CPS. Click here to find out more on qualifications.

  • VIA will not charge fairs for bus, VIAtrans, and VIA link through May 17. Click here for more information.

  • Senior Planet offers online activities for residents in our community to enhance digital literacy and maintain social connection during this time. For a list of activities, click here.

  • The San Antonio Clubhouse is a Community Center where adults with mental health conditions can volunteer, learn and grow. They offer online programming at all hours of the day for your convenience. If you are interested in joining in on their daily meetings, click here or call 210-798-1619.

  • The Texas Health and Human Services Department has launched a statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic at 833-986-1919. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • The Texas Workforce Commission is experiencing a high volume of calls within the last weeks. If you are having trouble applying for benefits, reach out to the office of State Senator Jose Menendez at 210-733-6604. 

As a reminder, please be mindful of where you receive your information. Trust only reliable news sources that provide the latest and most accurate information.
Stay Informed
Click any of the following buttons for reliable information about COVID-19. Additionally, you can text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates.
Community Resources
The following buttons link to community resources should you need any assistance. If you need a service that is not listed below, please contact our office at 210-207-0870 or by email at District7@SanAntonio.gov.
Federally Qualified Clinics
for Uninsured Persons
Local Job Listings
How You Can Help Your Neighbors
Looking for a way to help your neighbors during this time? Here are a few ideas:
The City has identified the following community volunteer opportunities:

  • Consider checking in on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions. Give them a call or send them a text message to let them know you're willing to help if they need it. If you're getting ready to go to the grocery store, consider offering to pick up items they might need.

  • Prepare hygiene kits for outreach to homeless persons. Individuals and families experiencing unsheltered homelessness may not have access to COVID-19 information or hygiene supplies. City of San Antonio Homeless Street Outreach Teams will deliver hygiene kits, assess needs, and connect people to services.
  • Hygiene kits for the street homeless population are needed. Hygiene kits will include, but are not limited to, the following: hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, soap, bottle of water, socks, and snacks. Items may be packaged in plastic grocery bags.
  • Hygiene kits can be delivered to your nearest SAPD SAFFE substation. Additional information at: https://www.sanantonio.gov/SAPD/SAFFE

  • Deliver food to seniors with Meals on Wheels. Many seniors in our community depend on home food delivery while self-distancing. Volunteers are needed to deliver perishable and non-perishable food items to their homes.
  • Contact Meals on Wheels at samanthaf@mowsatx.org or call (210) 599-7405 ext. 309.

  • Volunteer as an Elder Friend with Meals on Wheels. Homebound elderly individuals are in need of socialization and friendship.
  • Elder Friend volunteers typically serve three hours per week with a home-bound senior and do things such as play games, take a walk, run small errands or go out to eat as advisable.
  • Contact Meals on Wheels at samanthaf@mowsatx.org or call 210-599-7405 ext. 309.

  • Volunteer with homeless service providers. Volunteers are needed to provide services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Volunteers assist with serving meals, sorting clothes, engaging with clients (arts/crafts, singing, etc.) and helping with everyday program operations.
  • Contact SARAH Volunteer Registration here.
  • Contact Have for Hope Volunteer Opportunities at volunteers@havenforhope.org or 210-220-2549 or here.

  • Plan grocery shopping strategically. Major grocers are overwhelmed with urgent shoppers while small grocers are under-shopped.
  • To redistribute the crowds, use NextDoor, or other social media, to organize your neighborhood’s shopping days. Note smaller grocers in your area as alternatives. Example: Odd house numbers shop Monday, Wednesday, Friday and even numbers shop Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Designate Sundays or a particular time window for elderly shoppers.
  • Participate by putting a sign with #taketurns in your window. Use #taketurns to spread the word.
Updates from Local Universities
District 7 Office
Work Arrangements
During this time, the District 7 Office is continuing to work for you. We are taking the following precautions to protect your health and ours:

  • We will remain accessible for your phone calls and emails.

  • We will begin calling into neighborhood association and HOA meetings, should you choose to host them. If you would like help hosting a video or conference call for your NA/HOA meeting, we can assist!

  • We are postponing office events for the time being.

We appreciate your understanding.
Our Offices
Brass Professional Center
4414 Centerview Dr, Ste #160

Monday - Friday:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Closed for Lunch:
12:00 pm- 1:00 pm
Plaza de Armas
100 Military Plaza

Monday - Friday:
8:30 am - 4:30 pm