McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The South Texas border city of Laredo and surrounding Webb County are reinstating an overnight curfew beginning tonight due to the spiraling number of COVID-19 cases.
The curfew takes effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. “This means that you cannot be at someone’s home ‘socializing’ between these hours. However, you can still engage in other lawful activity at a business or alone (such as exercising),” according to a statement issued by the city’s mayor and health authority.
In addition, all bars will be closed and no gatherings over 10 people will be allowed. Laredo city offices will only be staffed at 50% capacity and all city public buildings will be closed to the pubic.
The city’s hospitalization rate is over 30% and it’s positivity rate is almost 16% — far exceeding the 10% state standard, and there have 20,731 confirmed cases since the coronavirus pandemic began, city officials report.
On Thursday, there were 207 new cases and four deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 417 for a city of 250,000 people and additional 25,000 residents who live in the surrounding rural county.
Early on during the pandemic, the city and county had imposed curfew restrictions, and even went against orders from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in late April and required all residents to wear masks and shelter in place at a time when the governor was beginning to reopen businesses and services throughout the state.
Laredo and other South Texas border officials have been watching COVID cases spike in West Texas in El Paso and are especially concerned as Mexican cities across the Rio Grande loosen restrictions for their residents.
“We have to be mindful of the experiences we’ve had and where we are situated. Located here at the border, with our neighbor to the south, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz has said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.