PORT ISABEL — In response to the rising number of coronavirus cases, city officials and leaders are continuing to enforce more rules to help prevent the spread of illness.
Port Isabel Mayor Juan Jose “JJ” Zamora issued a proclamation with new city restrictions regarding transportation, shopping and rental agreements.
According to the proclamation, no more than two people are allowed in private transportation on any public roadways or waterways.
Exceptions to this rule are transportation for medical or educational purposes.
Business establishments selling groceries or daily living supplies are not allowed to let more than two people use a single shopping cart.
Additionally, no one younger than 14 is allowed to be on the premises of these businesses.
No new agreements for the rental of any property subject to hotel-motel tax may be entered into during the pendency of the order, the proclamation states.
Exceptions are for properties that will be occupied by essential personnel and the housing of people who have suffered damage to their home.
To view the entire proclamation, visit https://tinyurl.com/vd3s9hp.
The mayor’s proclamation went into effect Thursday at 5 p.m.
Port Isabel City Manager Jared Hockema said the new restrictions were put in place to encourage social distancing and to make sure people stay safe.
“This is part of a process where we’re trying to get folks to realize the importance, the urgency of staying at home and preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Hockema said Thursday morning. “As time goes on, we’ve been placing further restrictions as necessary in order to protect the community.”
According to Hockema, city officials and personnel had noticed that people were still traveling in large groups.
“We’ve noticed a lot of folks that were still going to stores with large groups of people, multiple times a day and with multiple people in the car,” he said. “So we felt that we needed to take further measures and we’ll continue to take further measures in order to protect the people.”
Hockema said since Monday, the city has set up checkpoints at various locations throughout the town, mainly at entrances.
“A lot of it focuses on education,” he said. “It’s not a permanent checkpoint. We just set up from time to time to check and make sure people are with an essential purpose.”
Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m., Port Isabel Police Department officers, along with code enforcement officers, were stationed near city entrances on Highway 100 and Texas Highway 48 to advise motorists about the new restrictions.
“We hand out information to the public at those checkpoints and as time goes on, of course, the enforcement becomes a little more firm,” Hockema said. “So if we continue to see people that are violating this order, folks who are out without an essential purpose, then they will be given citations.”
Thursday morning, Port Isabel Chief of Police Robert Lopez said a few citations have been given to motorists that have not been following the city’s mandated rules.
“Since last week, the cases that have come up with the coronavirus have almost doubled,” Lopez said Thursday morning. “So we’re trying to mirror the rest of the county and start cracking down on people that do not have essential reasons to be out and about.”
According to the proclamation, the regulations will remain in effect for a period of 60 days, or until terminated, whichever is sooner.