Early Morning Wait

El Campo residents await the opening of H-E-B Tuesday shortly before 8 a.m.  Security at the store is limiting the number of shoppers who can go in at one time each morning. New store hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow  for restocking. Purchase limits have been set on many popular items.

Cases of coronavirus infection have not been reported in Wharton County, motivating many local business owners to keep their doors open and make their businesses extra clean.

Confirmed or possible coronavirus cases have been identified in nearby Matagorda, Brazoria and Fort Bend counties.

Officials for the Colorado Valley Transit Authority plan to keep bus routes going, unless they are mandated to shut down.

For “the citizens that are going to work and the things that they’re doing, we are still providing transportation,” Executive Director Claudia Wicks said.

The organization has routes in Wharton and El Campo, with bus drivers normally transporting customers from Wharton County Junior College, nursing homes and El Campo ISD, which have closed due to coronavirus concerns.

If CVTA were to close, mobile requests for pick-up would still be available for customers with certain needs.

“It (would) impact all the routes, because we won’t be going to bus stops and picking up, we would just be doing say, dialysis,” Wicks said.

Bus drivers sanitize their buses twice daily, with cleaning crews disinfecting once per week.

“If (bus drivers) need to do it in between particular clients, if we have some clients that are coughing or sneezing or something, they are sanitizing their buses,” Wicks said.

Most restaurants in town have elected to stay open and are taking precautionary measures to keep their businesses clean.

Business has been a little slower for most, as customers practice social distancing.

“We’re just playing it day by day,” Uptown Grill Owner Kathy Samhouri said.

Employees at Los Cucos plan to keep the restaurant open, pending the outcome of a corporate meeting in Houston this week.

At Pincher’s, to-go orders are growing in popularity, with employees willing to bring food to cars. Sonic employees are making sure to sanitize their red buttons every 30 minutes, Manager Albaro Valasquez said.

The local Pizza Hut, McDonalds and Whataburger have closed their dine-in area, but owners are taking to-go orders.

“It kind of affects our business a little bit, but (the owners) are trying to put out coupons to counteract it a little bit,” Pizza Hut Manager Travis Gray said.

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