Small business owners express concern as COVID-19 cases rise

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Last week, Cameron County hit a mark that health experts say could signal another crisis in the Rio Grande Valley.

The county averaged 144 new COVID-19 cases a day for the week of Nov. 30 through Dec. 4.

“In Cameron County, if we start having over 100 [COVID-19] cases a day, that’s where it really seems to get out of control,” said Cameron County health authority Dr. James Castillo.

New Covid-19 cases last week in Cameron County.

“The question is, if things get out of hand again, and the hospitals start becoming overwhelmed like we’re seeing in other communities in Texas, what more can we do?” asked Castillo.

One option available to combat the increase in spread of COVID-19 is to change how many people can be let into businesses.

“They’re constantly changing the capacity rules. 75, 50, 25 percent. Its always a challenge every time,” said John Rendon, the owner of New York Deli in Harlingen.

Rendon says lowering the capacity of businesses means tough decisions for owners.

“Cutting people’s hours, letting people go, skeleton crew in the kitchen. For me that’s been the hardest part, having to tell people. Cutting their hours, letting them go, stuff like that,” said Rendon.

Restaurants in the Valley are doing their part to keep their customers safe; following CDC and State of Texas guidelines that have been implemented since the start of the pandemic. They ask customers do their part to help keep businesses open at 75% capacity.

“We also have to maintain a high level of cleanliness for the customers that do choose to dine in. we have to make sure everything is spotless. You know, its quite a difficult task but its not one that we’re not up to task on,” said Mike Gonzalez, the head server at New York Deli.

They take the new COVID-19 guidelines very seriously, because their jobs depend on it.

“We all work here as a day to day. We get money every day, we’re all on paycheck to paycheck. So yeah, it would affect us greatly,” said Rendon.

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