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Another resident has died of complications from COVID-19 as the caseload in Bexar County rose to 2,636, an increase of 53 from Thursday to Friday, officials said.

The woman who died was in her 90s and is now the 72nd Bexar County resident to have died from complications of COVID-19. The vast majority of local fatalities have occurred in people with prior medical conditions. More than a third of the deaths have come from area nursing homes.

The number of patients hospitalized decreased by four to 91, the highest number of patients in local health care facilities since coronavirus cases began appearing locally in March. Of those, 40 are in intensive care and 25 are on ventilators.

Here’s a look at the confirmed cases as they have charted day by day.

Top reads

  • As school districts work to determine how to safely resume on-campus instruction for the 2020-21 school year, some school systems are considering a longer academic year that includes more breaks.
  • The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, which normally hosts more than 460 events per year, has been shuttered since March. President and CEO Mike Fresher has led an effort to bring the issue to the attention of Gov. Greg Abbott, who has allowed movie theaters, churches, and other large venues to reopen. 
  • San Antonio City Council is reviewing a $191 million proposal that would use some of the City’s federal coronavirus relief money to fund programs aimed at helping residents and businesses withstand and recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • The City of San Antonio plans to open all libraries for pickup services on June 16 and open some public pools starting July 3, City Manager Erik Walsh said Thursday.

Here’s what else is happening

Morgan’s Wonderland to remain closed through end of year

The accessible theme park Morgan’s Wonderland announced Thursday it would not reopen in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gordon Hartman, whose Gordon Hartman Family Foundation is the driving force behind the 10-year-old theme park, said the decision to forego reopening this year was “truly heart-wrenching.” Morgan’s Wonderland, located in Northeast San Antonio, caters to children with special needs and their families and includes a 25-acre water park called Morgan’s Inspiration Island.

“Many of our guests who come from all over the world are medically fragile and can’t risk potential exposure to the coronavirus,” Hartman said in a prepared statement Thursday. “Bottom line: The safety and well-being of our guests and employees are of paramount importance.”

Keeping the nonprofit park closed will result in an estimated $1.3 million loss, Hartman said.

Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, a camping facility for children with disabilities, will still open in 2021 in far North San Antonio as planned. A 3-acre accessible sports complex under construction next to the theme park could open this year for limited use once it’s completed, according to a news release.

The Pearl to reopen farmers market, food hall

The Pearl will reopen its Saturday farmers market on June 6, according to a Thursday press release.

The farmers market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning June 6. Customers can still take advantage of its curbside pickup service by ordering market products at pearlfarmersmarketcurbside.com. Pickup is available Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m., and online orders must be submitted by the previous Tuesday at midnight.

There will be no seating or tables at the farmers market to prevent customers from gathering, and people cannot eat or sample products at the market, according to the release. Market vendors have pledged to wear masks, and hand sanitizer will be available for employees and visitors. Market visitors are asked to wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from people outside of their household. Pets should also stay home.

The Pearl will also open the Bottling Department for in-person dining starting June 9. The food hall will only allow up to 50 percent of its occupancy limit inside and will be open from Tuesday through Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

McNay, Blue Star to reopen

The McNay Art Museum has announced that it will reopen its facilities, including outdoor spaces, to the public on June 26. Members can take advantage of two early access days, beginning June 24. Its H-E-B-sponsored free Thursday night hours resume July 2.

Exhibitions on view before the shutdown have been extended at least through August, while all public programming and events, including rentals, have been suspended through July 31.

Museum Director and CEO Rich Aste said the museum’s landscaped grounds have “healing qualities” that can help to reduce stress. While still undergoing a planned redesign, the McNay campus “will be a perfect place to reconnect … and beat the pandemic blues together as one resilient and remarkable community,” Aste said.

Blue Star Contemporary has also announced a phased reopening of its art galleries, set to begin June 6 for members and donors, followed by opening to the general public June 11. Advance reservations will be required for all visitors. Blue Star will keep its galleries closed for First Friday monthly art walks through August, however.

Both institutions will require visitors and staff to wear face coverings while visiting and will observe strict social distancing and sanitization protocols.

San Antonio water parks set to reopen

After Gov. Greg Abbott gave the green light to reopen water parks among a second wave of establishments previously under statewide closures, Schlitterbahn announced plans to open its water parks in New Braunfels and Galveston in mid-June and Splashtown San Antonio will open June 13.

Unemployment claims down in Bexar County, up in Texas

In Bexar County, 46,332 people filed for unemployment between April 15 and May 16, continuing a downward trend since the weeks between March 18 and April 18 when claims filings totaled 83,237, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Between April 15 and May 16, 688,889 have filed for unemployment in the state of Texas.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the second phase of reopening Texas businesses, many of which were shuttered with his March 19 executive order intended to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Nationwide, the number of filings reached 2.1 million during the week ending May 23, according to the Department of Labor.

This item has been updated to reflect the correct time frame during which the 46,332 jobless claims were made in Bexar County and to remove an incorrect reference to Bexar County’s claims being 25 percent of state unemployment claims.

Fiesta Noche del Rio canceled

Another longtime San Antonio tradition has fallen to the coronavirus pandemic. Fiesta Noche del Rio, the weekly summer celebration of all things Texan, has canceled its 64th season, citing the difficulties of safely performing during a pandemic. The season was to run June 12 through Aug. 8 with Friday and Saturday night performances along the downtown River Walk. Tickets already purchased will be refunded.

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This is the first time the annual event has been canceled.

“We have made the responsible decision to cancel our performances,” said Heather Akkerman, Alamo Kiwanis Club executive director. “Our intent is to weather the storm, and to plan a return in 2021.”

Started in 1957 by singer Rosita Fernandez, the event grew to entertain thousands, with annual proceeds benefiting local children’s charities including Childsafe and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Over 63 prior years, Fiesta Noche del Rio had raised nearly $3 million.

Census survey gauges economic fallout from coronavirus

Nearly half of all Texas households lost income between April 23 and May 12, according to a household survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Another 37 percent expect to lose income as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the state’s economy.

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That reality has left 12 percent of Texas households not having enough to eat in the last seven days and 31 percent of adults missing a rent or mortgage payment. A full 37 percent have delayed medical care, according to the survey.

In a similar survey of small-business owners, census data showed 14 percent of Texas’ small businesses have cut their workforce during the past week, and 33 percent have limited employees’ working hours. Seventy-seven percent have requested financial assistance through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

The survey results came as the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday reported that another 134,381 Texans filed for unemployment during the week ending May 16.

In the last two months, 1.94 million people in Texas have filed for benefits, while in Bexar County, unemployment figures reached 115,496.

Nationwide, 2.4 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, bringing the unemployment rate to a historic high of 17.2 percent.

San Antonio Zoo set to reopen

Following several weeks of drive-thru admissions only, the San Antonio Zoo announced Thursday it will reopen the park to foot traffic starting May 29, with access limited to members only through May 31. The zoo will then open to all visitors on June 1.

Attendance will be limited through a reservation-based, timed ticketing system that will be available on the zoo’s website starting May 25. A reservation is required to enter.

Starting June 1, standard admission tickets can be purchased online to reserve a date and entry time.

Some indoor spaces at the zoo will be temporarily closed, along with the carousel inside the zoo, the Zoo Eagle Train, and Kiddie Park. Face masks are strongly recommended for all guests age 10 and older.

“Our zoo crew has been working diligently on reopening plans almost since the day we closed,” said Tim Morrow, the zoo’s president and CEO. “We will be implementing safety guidelines set forth by our governor and City officials that will provide our guests with a safe visit back to the zoo.”

Rivard Report Staff

Rivard Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the Rivard Report staff.