As COVID-19 Reaches Far West Texas, Businesses And Tourist Destinations Take Precautions

By Carlos Morales

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the tri-county area has steadily climbed, now reaching over 30, some Far West Texas businesses and destinations have closed their doors as staff and patrons test positive for the virus.

“We learned today we were in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus,” wrote Marfa restaurant Convenience West on their Instagram account. “We all feel fine but we’d rather be safe than sorry so we’re just going to shut it down out of an abundance of caution.”

The West Texas barbecue eatery isn’t alone in their decision to halt operations. Destinations across West Texas have closed their doors after staff or visitors either tested positive for the coronavirus or potentially came into contact with a person who did.

The Alpine Independent School District said they were closing for two weeks after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. The rural district also canceled summer school for children in pre-K through 8th grade. The campuses, officials said, would be “deeply sanitized.”

Elsewhere in Alpine, the restaurant Spicewood is closing after “two or more of our employees have become infected with the virus.” All staff at the restaurant are to be tested for the virus, and owners say they’re cleaning the facilities “in the manner directed by both the local and national health authorities.” Guzzi Up is also closing and plans to reopen July 2, as an employee there has also tested positive for COVID-19. Taste and See has reduced their hours. And “due to the increase in local cases,” the Century Bar & Grill is only offering patio seating and diners must have a reservation.

In South Brewster County, management with Basecamp Terlingua says “the property was shut down and has not been entered for any purpose by any of our staff” after a group of four guests tested positive for coronavirus.

Despite having guests that tested positive for coronavirus recently, the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua says they won’t be closing but instead will have “extra precautions in place,” such as reducing occupancy to 50%, moving dining tables six feet apart, and reducing

In a post on Facebook, management with Starlight Theatre say staff who were exposed to the guests are self quarantining, and all staff members have been encouraged to be tested.

In Fort Davis, officials at Davis Mountains State Park say the popular outdoor destination is closing for the next two weeks because an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Guests with day-use or overnight reservations through June 30 will be refunded.

In Marfa, Para Llevar has shifted to online orders entirely, “due to the recent rise in case numbers in our region.”

The Chinati and Judd Foundations remain closed.

And throughout the tri-county region, the grocery store Porter’s says they’re starting at-home deliveries for any customer placed in quarantine by local or state officials. The service begins Monday, June 22 and will come at no extra cost for the residents in quarantine.

“We believe we serve the best communities of people out there, and we know that being considerate of your neighbor is important to us all,” reads the grocery’s announcement.

About Carlos Morales

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director, Border and Immigration Reporter, and Morning Edition Host.
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