El Paso health officials say bars and restaurants are OK, but avoid large crowds


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — An uptick in cases and concerns over COVID-19 has many people wondering if it’s safe to go out to restaurants, bars, and public places.

The second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in El Paso, a man in his 40’s who is currently hospitalized. City leaders said a total of 13 coronavirus tests have been done in El Paso.

Though it’s only two confirmed cases, officials said to avoid crowded restaurants and bars and to avoid taking the elderly out to public places.

“Were a small community compared to other places. We don’t have big restaurants where you have to have big gatherings,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza with El Paso City/County Health Authority. “You can still go to restaurants and bars but we’re recommending that all large gatherings we need to suspend that.”

Health officials also suggest taking the food home instead of eating in the restaurant.

“We go out, we hand wash, we eat, we go home. There are other alternatives as well that you can do if you want to be having a meal out taking out your meal, go home, spend time with your family,” said Dr. Ocaranza.

Community leaders said people should not panic and don’t clear all the shelves at grocery stores. They’re also reminding everyone to cover your cough, wash your hands and stay home if you are sick to prevent the spread of the virus within the community.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said the Senate will vote on a spending package, that if passed, will reimburse businesses with fewer than 500 employees for two weeks of paid time off for employees and two-thirds pay for family medical leave.

As of Sunday, the El Paso Public Health Department will operate seven days a week. If you have questions you can call 211 and click on option 6.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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