(Southside Light News) — It didn’t take long for the Associated Press to pick up on Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb’s recent plea asking tourists to avoid coming to Corpus Christi for at least the next little while. Word traveled fast in but the real question still lingers — are people listening?
On Monday morning, Southside Light reporters took a trip towards San Antonio on Interstate 37. Our journey only took us about 2 hours up the road to Anderson Loop 1604 in southern Bexar County. On the quick round trip we counted a total of 36 recreational vehicles, combining northbound and southbound traffic.
While it did appear most were headed northbound, a fair amount were making their way south. Admittedly, it lightened up on the return trip past the US 281 cutoff, but the numbers were still concerning.
Health experts with the University of Texas say that they are not surprised and have seen confirming data coming in from around the state. In fact, several city governments have begun setting up police checkpoints to enforce newly mandated stay-at-home orders.
The first known community to take such action was the City of Edcouch in Hidalgo County. They implemented their checkpoints last Monday and to date, officials there tell us that their work has been pretty effective at letting people know that the city is serious.
In nearby Willacy County, law enforcement agencies are setting up checkpoints, questioning motorists along main roadways.
“Yes sir, we are seeing a lot of campers and motorhomes,” one officer told us on Monday. “We are doing our best to keep people safe and it is working.”
Cameron County, County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr. said that they too are considering setting up checkpoints around the area to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
“We are looking at all of our options — setting up checkpoints in order to question individuals as to why they’re out and about — whether or not it’s an essential activity. Are they on their way to buy groceries, to the hospital, to the doctor, to buy medicine at the pharmacy?” Treviño said.
Meanwhile over in Aransas County, Fulton Mayor Jimmy Kendrick and local leaders in that area are taking a somewhat less intrusive approach to the problem.
Rockport-Fulton, Aransas Pass and the entire region rely heavily on construction trades for their local economic benefit. They recognize that State Highway 35 is a main artery from Bay City, Houston and beyond. Roadblocks and checkpoints would likely just not be practical.
So let’s say somebody from Austin or San Antonio wanted to bring their RV or camper down to Rockport and just kinda hang out for the holiday week. Could they do it?
“No they could not,” Kendrick said. “Our RV Parks and hotels are closed except to construction and trade guests.”
Strangely enough, Kendrick says it was the owners that came to area leaders with the idea in hand.
“We have to protect our people,” says Kendrick.
In Corpus Christi all of the major parks are closed to overnight camping. There are also limited restrictions on privately owned RV parks and hotels. So, are potential carriers from heavily infected areas really being told to hold off on visiting Corpus Christi? Technically, yes. Practically, no.
It seems that legally speaking, Nueces County and the City of Corpus Christi are speaking from both sides. “Don’t come down here just yet,” and “y’all come on, we have plenty of hotels, the beach parks are great during the day, and you can enjoy all of our great food curbside.”
Like so much of this pandemic it seems like a “darned if you/darned if you don’t” kind of situation. But the fact does remain that lives are at stake and it seems like some folks from majorly infested areas just want to get away from it all. But at whose expense?