Mayor Turner urges residents to ‘care enough for their owns lives’ amid potential COVID-19 outbreak during Thanksgiving

Social distancing on busiest night of the year for bars?
Social distancing on busiest night of the year for bars?

HOUSTON – The night before Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to party. The big difference this year: the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you go to an establishment and it’s too crowded, you really need to turn around and walk out,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Wednesday.

Right now, bars in Harris County are not supposed to be open but some have converted into restaurants. The capacity limit is currently at 75 percent.

Houston’s fire marshal said his teams are responding to complaints about businesses, roughly 90 complaints a day.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with that, even with seven teams, but we’re doing our best to try and keep up with that,” said Houston Fire Department Marshal Alfredo Martinez.

The mayor said the city does not have the time or resources to check on every establishment. With COVID-19 cases trending higher, he called on people to do a better job of policing themselves.

“At some point in time people should care enough for their own lives and the lives of their family, they shouldn’t have to require somebody from the government to go say you need to put on your mask or there are too many people in here,” Turner said.

The city’s inspection teams typically only work until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays but Martinez said he would have some inspectors available after that should there be a complaint about a major overcrowding situation.

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