When Asian restaurants in Houston saw their business dip to historic lows in January and February because of rumors about the coronavirus, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo were among officials showing support by eating at those restaurants.
Monday, at his early afternoon press conference, Turner announced that the Asian Chamber of Commerce and other individuals were donating the following medical supplies to be used in fighting the spread of coronavirus.
"The donations we are accepting today include 10,000 masks, 40 gallons of sanitizers, 825 isolation gowns, 270 goggles, 500 facial shields, 250 boot covers, 3,600 gloves."
Bin Yu, chairman of the Asian Chamber of Commerce said, "We'll stand by Mayor Turner and the City of Houston for whatever the needs are in the future."
Asked about whether he will move to a shelter in place order — something Hidalgo did not do this morning but did not rule it out in the future — Turner said he, Hidalgo and other leaders are having continuing discussions about this while deciding what their next step should be.
Addressing the shelter in place orders in other jurisdictions such as in Dallas, Turner pointed out that if you read the orders closely you will see there are "a laundry list of exceptions, including liquor stores." What this amounts to is that Houston and Harris County are essentially doing the same thing already as these other jurisdictions are doing in many respects, he said.
"There is no order, for example that are telling people you just can't leave your house. If you look at all of them, it doesn't exist.
"The universal goal is to take the necessary steps to block the progression of this virus such that our health care delivery system isn’t overwhelmed," Turner said.
"The reality is, you don't want to do something for example that's a total economic shutdown and then people in there [have] their livelihoods totally disrupted and that can be in some cases for many people, totally worse than the virus itself."
In response to a question, Turner said it was not true that Houston first responders — four firefighters — who tested positive for the virus and who couldn't quarantine at home had nowhere to go. He authorized them being sent to hotel rooms that day, he said.The city is negotiating with two hotels in Houston to lease about 180 rooms to house people like this, he said.