Join us now to plan our recovery and revival
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales
Part of dealing with a disaster is anticipating the aftermath. That’s why the time is now for our strong, caring community to plan in precise detail how we safely bring back the businesses, large and small, and restore the jobs and families of the office, oilfield, ranch, farm, restaurant and hospitality employees that are so vital to our unique mixed economy here on the Coast.
That may seem incongruous when we appear to still be so vulnerable: We are still in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nueces County and the Coastal Bend, yet to many, I know, it may feel like it’s been months, not weeks. Our schools and many of our stores and businesses are closed as their owners, operators and employees wrestle with uncertainty. Families are staying home, only going out into the greater community for essential work, services and supplies. Home activities now include online learning, teleworking and exploring novel offline pursuits.
Heroic emergency responders, medical crews, grocery and pharmacy clerks, and delivery drivers are providing at-risk services to our community. For some, these sacrifices mean they dare not go home to their own families.
We have all become unwitting soldiers in a war – a war against disease that threatens not just illness, but death, to the most vulnerable in our community.
That we have shut down and sought our homes as refuge is an act of great love that will never be forgotten. We have never been kinder. We have never been stronger.
Which is precisely why this is the perfect time to prepare for our revival.
Today is the first day of that recovery effort. Today we begin that forward planning of a restoration even while our hospitals are on high alert, triaging and treating and the county’s first critical pandemic patients, preparing to save lives.
Community, business leaders and associations have communicated to my office about their restoration needs in a quantitative and addressable fashion so that we can be first and fast out of the starting gate when the disease numbers begin to fall and eventually to fade. We are asking for the immediate and projected impact of this crisis on employees, facilities, customers and the supply network.
We will then know exactly what is required to quick-start what has been stopped, to restore what has been lost, to reroute what has been misdirected and delayed, and to deliver on what has been promised to all.
We want a planned and strategic response that is tactically doable, carefully measured, need-based, and affordable.
Every broad disaster that strikes an entire community with the risk of physical and emotional damage to infrastructure and family, friendships and business relationships, carries with it a deeper risk that the economic decline and the social dislocation become irreversible and permanent.
That will not happen here in the Coastal Bend, not here in Nueces County, not here in Corpus Christi, or small cities and towns. We will not let it.
Children not yet born will be asking you, members of this community, not only where you were during the Great Pandemic of 2020, but what you did. Those children, perhaps your grandchildren, will learn about a community of heroes that went before them, and protected their future.
The individuals who love, live, work and learn here are South Texas Strong. They and their ancestors have faced adversity after adversity over the generations and prevailed – overcoming Category 4 hurricanes, devastating floods, multi-year droughts, crushing recessions, and have faced down outbreaks of other epidemics.
But we have always come back. We have always come back stronger.
We are looking forward in the face of this current challenge. We will work rapidly on the detailed planning required for a Nueces County that is not only restored, but more resilient, stronger and larger than ever before.
Let us begin. My office is leading a coalition of businesses, organizations and elected officials to create a recovery program to help each other recover and revive the South Texas coastal economy.
We are calling this effort Operation Code Blue: Reviving South Texas’ Coastal Economy, and you can learn more or get involved and pledge your support by visiting a website we’ve launched to help coordinate our collective efforts: https://www.codebluegulfcoast.com/
Why code blue? A code blue in a hospital setting is an urgent call to resuscitate a patient, and our local businesses and communities are suffering under the weight of the coronavirus. We should together rush to the support of our community and begin our recovery now. Stat.
We hope you join us in this exercise of hope, growth and the revival of our South Texas Coastal way of life.