SAN ANGELO, Texas — San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter stood on the steps of city hall on Wednesday afternoon with good news and bad news.
The good news is that, for the past three weeks, San Angelo has kept the percentage of positive COVID-19 cases below 10%. Hospitalizations also continue to drop.
The bad news, however, is that according to Mayor Gunter, the unemployment rate is currently 7%. Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3%.
"That means people, families and businesses are suffering financially and emotionally. We need each of you to continue to support our local businesses. They are the backbone of this community. Without your support, they cannot succeed," Mayor Gunter said.
Fortunately, Governor Abbott issued an executive order on September 17 that allows businesses such as restaurants, gyms and museums to increase their occupancies to 75%. Bars, however, were left out of that list. Mayor Gunter said she is leaving all decisions regarding bar reopenings to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC).
"TABC will be the enforcement arm for all businesses serving alcohol, beer and wine; not the City of San Angelo, and not the mayor of San Angelo," Gunter said.
This means bars in Texas must remain closed unless they qualify as restaurants under TABC's requirements.
Mayor Gunter encouraged every citizen to support as many local businesses as they can.
"We are a city of small businesses, not large corporations. I, the mayor of San Angelo, want all businesses to open and to play a part in our financial recovery. It is in your hands. It takes personal responsibility. It takes commitment to do the right thing," she said.