A busy Memorial Day weekend in Houston has led to concern of the spread of the coronavirus, as packed bars were filled beyond state health recommendations and patrons were not social distancing, Newsweek reported.
"I am not angry; I am just disappointed," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters.
Now, fire marshals are going to begin to enforce public health measures, including limiting bars and clubs to 25% capacity, according to Turner.
"When you are crowding together, literally on top of one another with this virus still being present, you don't just pose a health hazard to yourself, you are exposing everybody who is there, and they are exposing everybody who is not there, who chose to do the right thing," Turner said, per the report.
"Unfortunately with this virus, one business with a jam packed room, no social distancing and no facial coverings, one person can impact three, four, five, six others. Then it spirals out of control and then our numbers start to spike.
"Those are the realities, that's how the virus works, it is a vicious virus. People become positive, they end up in our hospitals."
A stats model suggests Houston's Harris County will be seeing as many as 2,000 new COVID-19 positive cases per day by mid-June, according to the report.
"We're not equipped to handle that type of surge," Turner said. "We can take about 200 cases a day. . . . with contact tracing, and we're building up that program."
Turner fears Texas' relatively modest infection rates compared to some of the U.S. most infected cities is giving holiday weekend revelers a false sense of security.
"There are still people who think it's a joke, and it's not a joke," he added. "Things have opened up. We're in stage two in the state of Texas so bars, restaurants, barber shops are open. [We're] nervous but we're going to do everything we can to manage the virus."
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña reported around 300 complaints of coronavirus restrictions being violated since Friday, per Newsweek.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched Texas into Phase 2 of reopening, permitting restaurants to be at 50% capacity and indoor bars at 25% capacity, although those restrictions do not apply to outdoors areas with proper social distancing.
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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