By Steven Zimmerman
For better or worse, El Paso County is reopening. Both Mayor Margo, of the City of El Paso, and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, of El Paso County, have amended local directives allowing for additional businesses and services to reopen on May 29th, 2020.
“We will continue re-opening our economy in a judicious and proactive manner, while balancing public health and our economy,” says Mayor Margo.
The Franklin Mountains State Park will begin opening for day visits starting Friday, May 22nd, 2020. Only three hundred (300) people will be allowed to enter each day. Additionally, no groups larger than five, except for those in the same household, will be allowed. Face coverings are not mandated but strongly encouraged.
Hueco Tanks is opening, and visitors must follow minimum health guidelines.
McKelligon Canyon will also open on the 22nd of May; however, the only traffic allowed will be foot and bicycle traffic. The gate will remaine closed to all vehicle traffic. Even though McKelligon Canyon is reopening only in a limited capacity as hiking on trails will not be permitted.
The Parks and Recreation Department will reopen certain hiking and walking trails across the City for Memorial Day weekend starting Saturday, May 23. Some trails include Lost Dog Trailhead, Round House Trailhead, Lazy Cow Trailhead, Thousand Steps Trailhead, Palisades Trailhead, Lomas del Sol Trailhead, Jan Sumrall Memorial Trailhead and Scenic Drive’s Scenic Sundays will resume on Sunday, May 24.
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, the following will be allowed to open with occupancy restrictions and standard health protocols in place:
- Office-based services may operate at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25 percent of the total office workforce and must maintain appropriate social distancing of six-feet.
- Dine-In restaurant services occupancy limitation increases to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy inside the restaurant.
- Massage establishments and or other facilities where licensed massage therapists or other persons licensed may operate and must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating workstations.
- Personal-care and beauty services that have not already been opened, such as tattoo studios, piercing studios, hair removal services and hair loss treatment and growth services may operate and must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
- Childcare services must implement more specific social distance strategies.
- Bars and similar establishments that are not restaurants may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment.
- Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing and skating rinks may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment. Bowling alleys must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating lanes.
- Rodeos and equestrian events may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy.
- Amateur sporting events may operate ensuring there is no access to the general public and all participants have tested negative from COVID-19 prior to the event, quarantined for the duration of the event, are temperature checked and monitored for symptoms daily and tested again for COVID-19 at the end of the event.
Then, on Sunday, May 31st, 2020, at 10:01 a.m., the following will be allowed to open:
- Professional basketball, baseball, softball, golf, tennis, football, and car racing events, with no spectators physically present on the premises of the venue may operate.
o Youth camps, including all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youth.
o Youth sports may begin practices, but games and similar competitions may not begin until June 15, 2020. However, the public is once again reminded that City of El Paso facilities, to include City parks and recreational areas and facilities, will remain closed and therefore restricted until further notice.