TEMPLE, TX — Temple officials say it has come to this. They’re canceling walk-in services at city hall, the public library and other city buildings due to a rise in COVID-19.
The City is one of the first locally to make closures since Texas surpassed the one million mark in COVID-19 cases just last week.
“We have about 1,000 employees. 43 positive diagnosis is about 4% of our population, and we just want to be very careful,” said Temple Mayor Tim Davis.
Folks can still get city services online, by phone, appointment, curbside or via drive-thru. With the increase in COVID-19 cases, Thanksgiving and other holidays coming up, some fear more closures are on the horizon in Bell County.
“This action is being taken so we don’t have to go back to that. Nobody wants that, City doesn’t want that, local businesses don’t want that,” said Mayor Davis.
Other cities like Killeen say they have around 15 city employees out with either a positive case or exposure to the virus.
However, they don’t have plans to shut down and are monitoring all their employees, as well as COVID-19 cases across the city.
“Lockdown procedures or business closures, that’s not something I would anticipate to come from a city or from county. That would come from Austin," said Bell County Judge David Blackburn.
Judge Blackburn says most local governments are looking to Governor Greg Abbott when it comes to shutdown guidance, something the governor says won’t happen.
“While we wait for increased volumes of these antibody therapeutic drugs as well as the vaccines, it’s important for everyone to remember that habits that got us through the spike of cases of COVID-19 in July,” Governor Abbott said during a press conference Thursday.
Abbott has insisted there are other ways to better handle the virus than a statewide shutdown.
Local city leaders are encouraging people to follow social distancing guidelines and keep family gathering small during the holidays.