Community shares coronavirus measures

By Nubia Reyna

Staff Writer

With hours-long lines at supermarkets, empty shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, thousands of community members prepare to both avoid the spread of coronavirus and be ready to quarantine if needed.

While there are zero cases of coronavirus in Brownsville, business owners and community leaders still are taking the extra precautions to keep everyone safe, such as cleaning more often, installing hand sanitizer stations throughout their facilities and not touching each other.

“We want to take utmost precautions to protect all participants of our programs and the families we serve. To prevent any possible spread of coronavirus in our community we are asking that children who are sick or vulnerable to illness don’t attend classes,” Hilda Ledezma, founder at the Revival of Cultural Arts at Carlotta Petrina, said. “We have antibacterial throughout the building and we continously remind attendees to take precautionary measures.”

Ledezma said all major events that were scheduled for the month of March, such as CreArte, will be postponed until further notice to follow new measures of prevention.

Esthela Valdes, owner of Breathe Hot Studio, said the studio is implementing new cleaning rules such as using stronger chemicals for cleaning mats and floors, encouraging everyone to take their mat from home and if feeling sick to not attend class.

“We are cleaning more than we used to and we used to have natural essential oils floor cleaning and now we are using chemicals like bleach,” she said. “We clean after every class and disinfect the entire space. We have disinfectant spray for blocks but we encourage everyone to not use anything that they didn’t bring from home.”

Valdes said that it is important to continue to exercise and eat healthy to boost the immune system. She said staying positive is important for the immune system.

“Besides encouraging everyone to wash their hands and follow the guidelines for prevention we also recommend everyone to stay positive,” she said. “Staying positive will boost your immune system as well as the practice of yoga as well as meditation; maybe it’s not the cure but it may prevent it.”

Carlos Constantino and his wife Kiki, owners of Constantino Hair Salon, went to the H-E-B on Ruben M. Torres Saturday morning and said they were surprised by the line of hundreds of people and the lack of toilet paper in the store. They went at 6 a.m. and said by that time the store had run out on many things.

“At 5 a.m. the line to enter H-E-B was all the way to Coffee Port and we got there at 6 a.m. when everyone was already inside and the store was already running out of most things.” Kiki said. “As soon as we got there Carlos went to wait in line with an empty cart while we would go get the stuff we needed so it could be faster and even though we did that we still had to wait for more than an hour and 30 minutes.”

Carlos said they are also taking extra precautions at the salon to make sure all customers are safe. He said new precautions have been implemented such as changing the air conditioning filter three times, more often, refusing to take appointments of customers who would come from other parts of Texas such as San Antonio and refusing to take customers who are sick.

“We are disinfecting everything with EPA and every time a customer leaves, we have to clean the chair where the customer was and we disinfect also all the products after one of our customer touches them,” he said. “We have to clean more regularly than before to prevent this but we are not using Lysol or anything like that, the disinfectant that we have is stronger, it disinfects the way hospitals are disinfected.”

 In a video posted online by The City of Brownsville, Mayor Trey Mendez said it is important to take precautions.  The Brownsville Public Library recently implemented hand sanitizer stations throughout the libraries to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

“There’s many things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Of course, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings if you can, keep up to date with the [City of Brownsville] website, look at the Center for Disease Control and really just take as many steps as you can to protect yourself,” he said. “We don’t have to handshake all the time, we can do fist bump, we can say hello; whatever it is that you want to do, just protect yourself.”