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Business owners fear a deja vu moment as COVID-19 testing sites re-emerge

Posted at 8:40 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 09:40:32-04

TEMPLE, TX — Marquita Frank and her husband opened a quaint healthy shake and tea spot in downtown Temple, just a short walk away from the police department.

Taking a huge risk, they opened their doors in May, during the middle of the pandemic.

“I have heard that Bell County is probably one of the highest places in Texas with COVID cases right now,” Frank explained. “As far as my worry [goes], it's probably [in the] middle range.”

The couple dealing with one shutdown before, said another one would shake up their business model completely, especially with new coffee shops and beverage spots with drive-thrus opening in the area.

“I'm worried about having to shut down again,” Frank admitted. “I'm worried about you know, everything about this COVID pandemic stuff, it kind of has my hairs on the back of my neck standing.”

That’s why the city is doing all it can to try to keep folks safe.

That includes recruiting outside help from the Texas Army National Guard to help facilitate a Monday through Friday drive-thru testing site in the empty parking lot next to Wilson Park.

“It's a resource that the state has made available to us at the local level,” Jennifer Henager, the Fire and Rescue Management Specialist said. “We would love to do testing, we just don't have the resources and the manpower to do that.”

The clinic is free and offers a community-oriented space and time for folks to get tested.

In addition to that Henager says the site serves as an additional spot to go for testing to keep folks from going to the local hospitals.

“In talking with our area hospitals, they're actually having a number of people going to the ER to get tested,” she explained. “So they're sitting in the ER waiting room, and they really don't need to be there.”

Meanwhile, business owners like Frank are watching from the sidelines praying for the best but anticipating the worst.

”I’m kinda at a place where I’m praying and hoping that we don't get to a space where back when everything shuts down, but we do have a contingency plan if that were the case,” Frank said.

The testing location will run Monday through Friday until September 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.