MCALLEN – A call for action from one of our viewers sent us asking questions to the City of McAllen about overcrowded parks during the Shelter In Place Order.
McAllen City Manager Roy Rodriguez says the city is working to stop the spread and is urging residents to stay inside, however, parks remain open.
“You can go out to the parks, walking trails, running and biking trails, but you have to continue to keep the distance between you and another person,” said Rodriguez.
Our cameras found dozens of people at the Tres Lagos Park Wednesday afternoon, not staying six feet apart from each other.
“We noticed last week that families are doing a bad job of social distancing and we were seeing lots of kids gathering together in the same playground equipment, therefore we decided to close down the playgrounds,” said Rodriguez.
With the playgrounds shut down, police and code enforcement are keeping an eye out at the parks.
“What we’re trying to do is break up the congregation, and say hey this isn’t allowed it hasn’t happen but sure we have the authority to cite them,” said Rodriguez.
We also asked why McAllen has been advertising free parking downtown if they are enforcing social distancing.
Rodriguez says that was a misunderstanding.
“That was bad messaging, the reason we did it wasn’t because we’re inviting people to go downtown, what it was is we figured out the merchants downtown complained to us, look we don’t have many people visiting us anyway and you’re charging for parking so we decided you know what we’re not gonna do that and not charge parking downtown,” explained Rodriguez.
The City of McAllen does have city officials and police all monitoring the Shelter In Place order.
“The worst that it gets the more enforcement the citizen can expect,” said Rodriguez, “This isn’t maybe I’m gonna do it, I think evidence of that is that we closed our own golf course, we did not feel comfortable that the golfers were not keeping a safe distance from each other. “