Closing beaches saves lives, but will harm Port A economy

Closing beaches saves lives, but will harm Port A economy
Posted at 9:01 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 22:01:27-04

The beach order will have an big economic impact across the Coastal Bend.

Business owners in Port Aransas who survived the Fourth of July order are not so sure they can take a second hit.

With tourism the leading industry for Port Aransas, mayor Charles Bujan says it's a difficult decision to even consider closing these beaches, but he defends it saying he has to protect his community how he can.

"The choice is either put restrictions in so that you prevent the spread of this disease, or you don't do anything and just let it go," Bujan said.

Bujan didn't want to have to choose between life and death.

"From a personal, moral standpoint," he said. "I can't just let it go."

But with COVID-19 cases on the rise, his hands are tied.

Bujan says he's been in talks with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales about the idea of closing beaches.

"Well. what we're talking about is vehicle activity on the beach," Bujan said. "That's the item right now."

It's an item that has businesses owners like Scott Tanzer worried.

"Closing them could be a potential death blow to a town that survives on tourism because we're in the middle of our peak season," said Tanzer, who owns Port A Beach Buggies.

Down the road, Cassandra Clark shares the same sentiments.

"Some souvenir stores, some little mom and pop places may not make it, but somebody else will come in and start over again," said Clark, who owns The Connoisseur. "That's the nature of the beast."

Clark says that either way, it's a difficult decision for those in charge.

"I mean even though he's our mayor, he still has a job," she said. "And if there's no people - there's no mayor."

Bujan says the proposed action is a collaborative effort that includes all counties on the Gulf Coast that have beaches, including Galveston.