SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) — Spring Break for most Texas schools that still have a full spring break start next week. However, some started Monday.
Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order reopening the state completely and rolling back the mandatory mask mandate takes effect Wednesday morning, but that didn’t stop a few dozen college-aged people from traveling to South Padre Island to enjoy some time in the sun.
“People are ready to get out again and enjoy their lives,” said Clayton Brashear, the owner of the popular Spring Break spot Clayton’s Beach Bar.
Brashear is hoping the Governor’s new order will help boost the economy for the island, which has not seen the same levels of tourism it had before the pandemic.
“On South Padre Island, we rely on tourists, we rely on the Valley. Come on out, have a hamburger, have a piña colada on the beach, enjoy yourself,” said Brashear.
Brashear told KVEO that he was excited and encouraged when Governor Abbott announced that all businesses could fully open on March 10.
Clayton’s serves food, so it was not forced to close like places many other bars had to during the pandemic, and it has been open to some capacity.
But being open to 100%, just days before Spring Break, gives the venue more options. Options that Brashear plans to make the most out of.
“For spring break we really decided last minute that we’re going to open up, have DJs, concerts, everything,” he said.
The students who came out to the bar on the beach were engaged in a variety of activities, from volleyball to beer pong to just hanging out.
The majority of people on the beach said they were not concerned about a potential COVID-19 incident.
The majority of people KVEO spoke to came from various parts of Texas. There were a few recent graduates in the mix, but most at the bar were in college.
The CDC still recommends that people wear masks when outside with people not in their immediate family. The organization does say that outdoor activities are safer than indoor ones.
Brashear told KVEO the venue would follow the government’s orders would not require people to wear a mask after March 10, but people will still be free to wear them if they choose to.
The venue is entirely out in the open — essentially a bunch of tables and chairs on a large wooden deck — so there would be less of a risk of contracting COVID-19 than indoors.
Brashear encouraged everyone to continue following CDC guidelines but to also get out and have some fun.
“Still play it safe, wear your mask, stay away from other people, but come on out to the island and enjoy yourself,” he said.