Buda adapts to retail businesses reopening

Coronavirus social guidelines have become a divisive issue, with some people excitedly awaiting the reopening of businesses, while some are choosing not to participate in the looser guidelines. Despite the potential health threats reopening the state poses, Texas has been relaxing restrictions and allowing more businesses to operate.

As Gov. Greg Abbott loosens coronavirus social guidelines, the city of Buda follows suit. During the virtual city council meeting May 5, Mayor George Heahn said he is going to follow the governor’s orders in which businesses can reopen. Abbott will issue additional clarifications May 18, giving the city two weeks to observe the effects of businesses reopening.

The workplaces now given the greenlight to open include barbershops, nail salons, cosmetology salons, tanning salons and swimming pools. These businesses will operate under set restrictions.

Haehn said he is basing decisions not just on state orders, but on the observed health effects. Almost two weeks ago, Buda had seven active cases, which went down to six and now the city has three; Haehn said this shows that there has been a downward trend in COVID-19 cases. He also pointed out that the more tests the city does, the more cases they will see,but who gets tested is up to doctors and physicians.

To keep a closer eye on the situation, Haehn requested that Buda receive a testing site, which will be open three days a week. The site will be coming in the near future, but time and dates are not yet decided.
All council members thanked Haehn for his effort in reducing the spread of the virus, but two council members expressed concern about residents getting too lax now that restrictions are easing.

“As a healthcare worker and nurse, I’m very concerned about people getting sloppy with their social distancing and wearing a mask,” said Councilmember Terry Cummings. “I think we need to stay diligent and observant and make sure that we present a good example and keep wearing our masks and making sure we are the appropriate six feet from our friends when we are out and about. If we don’t do those things, we will reap the bad benefits thereof.”

Councilmember Ray Bryant echoed Cummings’s words and added that, based off of his experience at stores around town, there are many who follow the guidelines, but that he has seen people not following social distancing.

“I do not enter a store without a mask, a mask is on me at all times,” Bryant said. “I don’t think it’s a time to relax; it’s a time to be careful, I think we just need to continue to practice safety.”

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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