Houston mayor to close or limit access to parking lots near city parks this weekend to limit overcrowding

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held his daily COVID-19 briefing Friday afternoon to update the community on relief efforts, test sites, the new number of positive cases, and commented on the governor’s announcement to reopen Texas.

Turner reported 114 new coronavirus cases in the city and two more deaths, bringing Houston’s death toll to 31. Turner said both patients were in their 80s with underlying health conditions. He also said 40 municipal workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

City Parks

Turner also said he would limit access to and close parking lots adjacent to some city parks in Houston until Monday morning, to try and control overcrowding and promote walking and biking as a way to get to these areas, according to a press release.

“The goal is to encourage citizens to walk and/or bike to their neighborhood park,” officials wrote in a press release. “It will also minimize driving and parking at our facilities, while keeping the parks open.”

The lots adjacent to Buffalo Bayou Park, Memorial Park and Hermann Park will all be limited but not closed.

“In addition, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department will continue monitoring parks with the help of the Houston Police Department, Urban Park Rangers, and 150 re-assigned parks staffers,” officials wrote.

Response to governor

Regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement that he will sign executive orders to begin reopening Texas Friday, Turner said Houston is not out of the storm yet in the coronavirus fight. He said he looked forward to seeing more details on the governor’s executive order today and more on April 27.

Turner said he agreed with Abbott’s decision to reopen state parks but keep schools closed for the rest of the year. As Texas reopens, Turner said wearing facial coverings, social distancing and working remotely will continue through May.

He said testing has always been important and there needs to be more robust and rapid testing in Houston. He said the city also needs testing for those who have developed antibodies for the virus.

Turner said the city will continue to take necessary steps in order to save lives. He thanked Houstonians for continuing to stay home, social distance and follow guidelines to decrease the number of cases and deaths.

Watch the mayor’s full press briefing below:

WATCH LIVE: Mayor Sylvester Turner provides daily coronavirus briefing. It is unclear if he will address Gov. Abbott's announcement about reopening Texas. MORE: https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/04/17/watch-live-mayor-turner-gives-update-on-coronavirus-response/

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, April 17, 2020

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