After 61 new COVID cases, mayor says “We are not going back to shutting down.”

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas – On Wednesday, Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said the city will not go back into lockdown one day after the city had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day.

On Tuesday, the city reported 61 new cases. The previous high for any one day was 37 which was a three tie between June 16, April 15 and April 11. The city on Tuesday reported 338 active cases of COVID-19 or coronavirus which is the highest ever.

On Tuesday, an official statement said, “The City of Lubbock Health Department has identified an outbreak of COVID-19 among 18-25 year olds who recently visited bars where six foot distancing between groups was not observed.”

In a news conference via Zoom, the mayor showed a chart of new cases for the last 14 days. One such chart indicated that persons between the ages of 20 – 29 had more new cases than all other age groups combined.

“We don’t like the trend but it’s still not in a 9-1-1 area,” mayor Pope said. “The barn is not completely on fire.”

“We do have concerns, and I don’t want to be mentioned as sort of waving this off,” the mayor said. “One of the things that made us feel confident about reopening was our ability to control the spread of COVID-19.”

Pope also said from mid-to-late April until 10 days ago, the spread of coronavirus was “very low.”

“Use good judgment!” he said.

Pope also said the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be aggressive about enforcing the idea of social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s not a first slap on the wrist. The first infraction is a 30-day suspension of their license. We need that.”

“We’ve had a couple that were not very good actors,” Pope warned. “Those places as they reopen will be watched very carefully.”

“We are not going back to shutting down. But we’ve got to move forward safely.”

As for reduced occupancy – possibly going from 50 percent down to 25 percent, Pope said that decision is in the hands of the governor, not the city.

Pope then made reference to the governor’s press conference on Tuesday, saying, “Based on what he said, I don’t expect us to back up.”

Pope was asked, “What will it take for you consider going back if we need to?”

“I really don’t want to answer questions based on hypotheticals,” he answered. “I do believe we have proven that we know how to slow the spread of this virus. And we’ve got to return to those practices. We will continue to take a very consistent and hard stand on those places where we have outbreaks of virus.”

“The vast majority of our businesses, our bars, our restaurants, have taken this seriously.”

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