City of Amarillo addresses non-essential businesses re-opening

KFDA Video: COA Presser 8

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Many NewsChannel 10 viewers have been asking why some non-essential businesses can remain open, like a tanning salon.

The City of Amarillo explained in todays press conference that all non-essential businesses can remain open as long as they follow four guidelines which are; no more than ten customers inside the store at once, everyone must remain six feet apart at all times, employees and customers must have access to sanitizer or wipes to enhance their hygiene, and commonly touched surfaces must be cleaned on a regular basis.

Environmental Health workers are checking in on businesses to make sure they are following these rules.

“We really want everyone in the city, that can be working, to be working. Obviously, our primary concern is keeping everyone safe and making sure we don’t have a spike in our community that exceeds our hospital capacity. Our second concern is the economy here in our city,” said Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson.

Dr. Scott Milton with the Amarillo Health Authority talked about the mortality rate of COVID-19, and how we must be wearing masks in public to protect those who are most vulnerable.

“The mortality rate is probably around one percent. The vast majority of people will survive this illness. What’s important to realize, a mortality rate of one percent is 10 times more than the regular flu,” said Dr. Milton.

As of right now, Mayor Nelson has not yet extended the Shelter-in-Place order.

“As we start watching for numbers to change, we have to watch for a peak here in Amarillo and then start thinking about how we roll back to business as normal,” said Mayor Nelson.

There are some discrepancies as to when we might flatten the curve here in Amarillo, but Dr. Milton gave an estimated timeline.

“I think I would suspect that that would be somewhere of around two to four weeks. There are some models that suggest even longer than that. Let’s plan for the worst, and hope for the best is the best advise I can give regarding these models,” said Dr. Milton.

As both BSA and Northwest Texas Hospitals are looking at furloughing employees in various departments, the Amarillo VA is looking to hire RN’s and LVN’s on a temporary basis.

“Any interested candidates, call our human resources department at (806) 355-9703, extension 7330," said Froylan Garza Interim Medical Center director for the Amarillo VA.

The latest death in Randall County was a 96 year old man.

As of this morning, there are nine COVID-19 patients at Northwest, one in the ICU and one pediatric patient.

BSA has three patients in the hospital, but did not give statuses of the patients.

The VA still has one patient, the same patient as weeks prior, who they say is doing better.

There are no new recoveries today and still nearly 170 COVID-19 tests pending.

Copyright 2020 KFDA. All rights reserved.