Shelter in place: SPI reduces transit services

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — City officials and leaders are trying to enact further safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

South Padre Island’s transportation program “Island Metro” is operating on a reduced level of service to be in alignment with the City of Port Isabel’s latest regulations.

The Island Metro will operate one shuttle from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Island only.

The routes to Port Isabel and Laguna Heights will be canceled until the order is lifted, according to a city of SPI press release.

“Everyone please stay home and remain safe,” SPI Mayor Patrick McNulty stated in the release. “You should only leave the house if absolutely necessary. Shelter in place and stay healthy.”

The reduced level of services went into effect on Saturday at 5 p.m.


Since Friday, police officers have been stationed at a checkpoint setup at the entrance of the Island.

A statement from SPI chief of police Claudine O’Carroll was issued on the department’s Facebook page Friday evening regarding the new measures.

In the announcement, O’Carroll stated the purpose of the checkpoint was to ensure Cameron County’s emergency orders related to shelter in place and avoiding non-essential travel are being followed.

“We have implemented measures to protect our residents, business owners, first responders and our city staff, which can hopefully mitigate the potential exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in our community,” O’Carroll stated in the announcement. “But understand that while all may not agree to these ever changing rules and directives, as new information becomes available, they are formulated with the best intent to keep you safe and preserve life.”

The announcement also stated the department had implemented some changes with its reporting protocols.

“We are asking our community to understand that our dispatchers are screening our calls and giving directions for some reporting to be done via email or in person in our police lobby where there is a protective screen in place for our officers,” O’Carroll stated in the announcement.

Department personnel are asking people to make their appointments sometime between 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday for other paperwork such as decals, inspections or reentry stickers to minimize staff interactions with the public and also adhere to social distancing.

Officers will continue responding in the field and will do so while wearing protective equipment in an effort to stay safe and healthy while protecting the community, the announcement stated.

“This community is strong and resilient and we will persevere as we have done during the many challenges we have faced in the past,” O’Carroll stated in the announcement. “We thank you for your patience, support and cooperation during this national health crisis.”