Wes Studdard

It’s GO TIME New Braunfels, but let’s take it in phases.  As you know, Governor Abbott started Phase One of opening Texas on May 1st.  Although many restrictions are in place and some businesses remain closed, I am eager to see our economy booming again.  By starting at 25% capacity for a couple of weeks, we can allow businesses to ramp up new processes to keep everyone safe.  Phase Two on May 18th takes us up to 50% capacity and should allow more businesses to open.  Maintaining local health and wellness is a top priority.

COVID-19 is a dangerous virus for many, so we must remain cautious and vigilant to avoid further spread.  The State’s Chief Medical Officer says spread mainly occurs within 6 feet distance from person to person via respiratory droplets, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. So it’s simple.  Keep your distance, wear a mask in crowds, and wash your hands and work surfaces.  It’s up to us, to use wisdom and discipline to keep New Braunfels open. We are truly in this together.

I know many businesses are cleaner than ever and have taken significant precautions to protect their employees and customers. Social distancing is evident at HEB, Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and many more. Hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves, plexiglass guards and the strong smell of disinfectant is everywhere.  I’m praying we can safely operate in this new normal until the cure or vaccine is developed. 

For those that are 65 years or older with medical issues like heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system, stay home if you can.  As reported by the Texas State Department of Health Services on April 26, 2020, 76% of the COVID-19 fatalities in Texas were 65 and older.  We all must act responsibly as we re-engage the economy and care for the vulnerable.

At the Chamber office, the dedicated staff has witnessed a significant increase in calls from tourists wanting to come to New Braunfels.  With school from home, the summer season appears to be starting early and travelers are driving instead of flying.  That makes New Braunfels the best location in Texas.  We are anticipating a robust summer season, but it is going to be different than ever before.  The challenges of keeping folks safe on the rivers and at large attractions like Schlitterbahn and Gruene is going to require some real ingenuity.  We’ll figure it out.  Just like with past adversity, we will come together as a community to safely get New Braunfels flowing again.

Wes Studdard
2020 Chamber Chair of the Board