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'The virus is not done with us'; SA mayor says next steps will be carefully considered

Both leaders acknowledged that many people were out and about this weekend in San Antonio, on what would have been the final weekend of Fiesta.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar Co. Judge Nelson Wolff praised San Antonians' social distancing efforts during a news conference Sunday, but also warned people to stay on guard.

"We are not through with this and the virus is not through with us," Nirenberg said.

Both leaders acknowledged that many people were out and about this weekend in San Antonio, on what would have been the final weekend of Fiesta. But, they both said they saw people wearing masks and staying in their cars to pick up food.

"I know you are out there, I see you, but I also see a lot of people wearing masks," Wolff said.

"Stay Home, Work Safe, but with exceptions"

Judge Wolff said in the news conference that the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order will stay in effect in the coming weeks, but with some exceptions added. This comes as Governor Greg Abbott is expected to announce the next steps in his phased plan to reopen the Texas economy.

The first step in the governor's plan was to make "retail to go" available for some stores, which started Friday. Mayor Nirenberg said that he was glad to see many San Antonians following the social distancing guidelines while participating in "retail to go" over the weekend. He said he was optimistic that this would continue going forward.

"We are on a different timeline than New York"

Similar to the governor's plan for a tiered reopening of businesses, Mayor Nirenberg mentioned that San Antonio's plan would need to be carefully "calibrated" with the specifics of the Alamo City in mind.

He said any decisions or guidelines for businesses would be issued with the help of health data from the city's experts. 

"This will not be like a light switch. We are on a different timeline than New York," Nirenberg said.

Fiesta in November

The mayor said he was confident that Fiesta 2020 will take place in November in response to a question about that. He said that this is a pandemic and there are no guarantees on the timeline of anything. But he said San Antonio "deserves a party".

"This is Texas"

When asked about in the increase in people seen at parks, rivers and lakes in the San Antonio area, the mayor warned people to stay on guard and listen to recommendations.

"This is Texas and I don't think anyone is waiting for the government to tell them to do anything," Nirenberg said. 

He said he understood the fatigue people are feeling from staying at home, but warned that mistakes now could further delay our return to regular daily life.

"No man is an island"

The mayor once again addressed the topic of asymptomatic carriers, emphasizing that while you might feel well and healthy, you could still be carrying the virus and pass it onto others.

Dr. Anita Kurian of San Antonio Metro Health also weighed in on that issue and said the goal is to expand testing to people who are showing mild or no symptoms. She said in the early days of coronavirus in San Antonio, tests were more scarce and were only used for severe cases. But, with more tests available, the health community can open testing up to a wider group of people to be able to better track the virus.

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