SPI extends beach operations emergency management order

Raymond Alcala wears a mask and gloves Monday as he mans an umbrella and chair rental station for beachgoers on South Padre Island. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — In an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus, those visiting the beaches of this coastal city are going to need to continue following set protocols.

During a meeting held Wednesday, the South Padre Island City Council voted to extend and amend its emergency management order regarding beach operations.

Prior to taking any action during the meeting, SPI Mayor Patrick McNulty asked the rest of the council how they felt about the order.

“We’re after Labor Day and I think the entire country is sort of just sitting back and waiting to see what’s going to happen. I don’t think we should jump the gun,” council member Alita Bagley said during the meeting. “I think we should continue this for another period of time until we see what’s going to be happening nationwide and in the state and in Cameron County.”

McNulty said he thinks a majority of people feel safe going to the Island because of the restrictions.

“One thing I’ll point out is through the plan that we did, South Padre Island, our sales tax was down 33 percent in July, which is our biggest month in sales tax collection, but if we hadn’t done something like this, it could have been much worse or would have been much worse,” he said.


All types of canopies and pop-up tents will be prohibited. Single-pole shade structures larger than 8 feet in diameter are also prohibited.

All single-pole shade structures will be separated by a minimum of 15 feet from the outside edge or tip of the structure. Only two chairs per single pole shade structure will be permitted.

Other setups are prohibited within the 15 feet between the equipment.

Beach vendors can only preset the front-row, while following these set guidelines. All non-single pole shade structures will be prohibited. All secondary beach chairs and umbrellas must be stored at the dune line and setup on-demand only. Chairs and umbrellas must be rented and occupied at the time of setup for the secondary rows.

The emergency management order will remain in effect until Oct. 15 at 11:59 p.m.

A violation of the order is a Class C Misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

Peace officers, City of South Padre Island health inspectors, code enforcement/ordinance officers/inspectors have authorization to enforce the order.

To view the entire order, visit https://tinyurl.com/yy9cbdsu.

“It is the responsibility of every American to aid in the prevention of the spread of this virus,” the order states. “Our hope is that by imposing these measures quickly and firmly, we will help bring this national emergency to an end quickly and help revitalize the economy we all enjoy as soon as possible.”