EL PASO, Texas-- As case numbers, hospitalizations and Covid-19 related deaths continue to decrease, it appears El Paso is now trending in the right direction against the Coronavirus. The decrease in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks has the City of El Paso eyeing reopening facilities much missed by the public.
It has been a year since facilities like splash pads and pools have been closed - and with a hot summer in the forecast, El Pasoans are sure to enjoy these amenities.
"Infections are down, active cases are down, hospitalizations are down and everyday we have more vaccines being put into the arms in our community, so we feel it is time we move forward," Deputy City Manager Tracey Jerome said.
The move to reopen will help the local economy by creating jobs. Furloughed employees have already been brought back, many in different capacities, and now the city will be looking to fill new vacancies.
"We are currently recruiting and hiring and training up to 400 seasonal staff for operations this summer. We are going to be opening our first water park, Camp Cohen, at the old Cohen site on Memorial Day weekend," said Bryan Crowe, the general manager for Destination El Paso.
The city will also be opening its' water parks that have been under construction over the past several years. The first one being Camp Cohen in northeast El Paso, while the other four will be phased in through out the year. Live music is also on the way with Viva El Paso and Cool Canyon Nights at McKelligon Canyon.
Libraries are slated to reopen April 5, but they will only be open for folks to browse and check out books. No one will be allowed to sit and read at these locations.
While rec centers will also reopen in some capacity, senior centers will not. The city remains optimistic it will be able to reopen those centers in the near future.
"At this point in time, we don't have enough of the community vaccinated. We have to be cognizant that Covid is still alive and well. and it's spreading in some states in our country - so there is still that risk," El Paso Fire Chief Mario D'Agostino, the city's emergency management head, said. "It is part of our weekly regular discussions with Dr. (Hector) Ocaranza, our Health Authority, and how do we do that safely. To give you a time frame, we just couldn't do that now - but it is discussed and it is discussed often."
Jerome told ABC-7 that the move to reopen will only work if the community chips in.
"If you are not feeling well, don't come out - stay home and rest. Take care of yourself, get tested, get vaccinated. It's really, really, really important -even if you don't think the vaccine is important for you, it is important for the entire community," Jerome said.