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Public Safety 'Top Of Mind' As River Walk, Downtown San Antonio Reopen

Downtown San Antonio is empty, on the street level and on the River Walk.
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio

Now that restaurants, museums and bars are allowed to reopen in a limited capacity, Downtown San Antonio is preparing to bounce back.

The city's tourism industry -- especially downtown hotels, restaurants, bars and retail stores -- was one of those hit hardest by economic fallout due to the pandemic.

San Antonio has made progress toward flattening the curve, but health officials worry that going back to business as usual without cautionary measures in place could trigger a second wave of COVID-19.

What measures are now in place to ensure public health and safety on the River Walk and elsewhere downtown? What are the biggest challenges? Will social distancing be enforced? Can visitors be required to wear masks? 

Centro San Antonio, The River Walk Association and and the City's Center City Development and Operations Department are addressing ongoing coronavirus concerns in an effort to boost consumer confidence and revive the downtown economy, in part through a new River Walk SAFE campaign promoting ramped up sanitation practices and appropriate social distancing. 

Downtown tourist destinations employ hundreds of service industry and hospitality workers, many of whom were furloughed or let go during the shutdown. What new policies and procedures will be implemented to protect employees' health when they come back?

What's being done to help small downtown businesses survive the pandemic? What is the future of downtown special events and programming? How long could it take for things to get back to "normal"?

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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, June 3.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.