South Padre Island extends state of disaster declaration, creates task force

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — City officials and personnel are continuing to make decisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

South Padre Island City Council members held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss matters related to COVID-19.

The council unanimously voted to extend the city’s local state of disaster declaration to May 3.

During the meeting, Mayor Patrick McNulty clarified some questions he’s received regarding the declaration.

He said it is not an extension of any orders and is just an extension of the declaration of disaster.

“This is our tracking mechanism that allows us to keep track of the expenses that are directly related to COVID-19, City of South Padre Island and our direct losses regarding, so we can keep track of this and we can submit them to FEMA and the state for reimbursement for this cause,” McNulty explained. “It’s not extending any orders because South Padre Island currently has no orders in place. We’re under the shelter in place orders that Cameron County has issued and extended to May 4.”

Submitting plans

The council unanimously voted to create a task force that will put together procedures and ideas for safely reopening businesses on the Island that have been closed or deemed non-essential.

McNulty said the procedures will work within President Donald Trump’s phases of reopening the country.

The task force will consist of city personnel and healthcare workers, as well as retail, hotel and restaurant owners.

Non-essential business owners can submit their plans, ideas and suggestions on how their business can operate in a safe manner while prohibiting the spread of COVID-19 by emailing openspi@myspi.org.

Submitted plans will be sent to county and state officials for approval.

“I think that the moral responsibility no matter what is for businesses to open up in a safe manner to protect their customers, themselves and the community at large,” McNulty said. “Maybe through this task force, it’s establishing guidelines, not so much orders, but guidelines to help prevent the spread as we all know we’re not passed this by any stretch in the means, but there’s definitely a need to open up the economy and get back to some level of normality.”

ahernandez@valleystar.com