Outreach efforts regarding health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19 are continuing in Fort Worth, at a time code compliance officials say the message is especially important.
Stephanie Neff, a consumer health specialist with Fort Worth’s Code Compliance Department, said their approach focuses more on education and available resources as opposed to enforcement.
Neff and her team visited the roughly 100 businesses in the Fort Worth Stockyards on Thursday. They handed out masks for businesses that needed them along with posters reminding people to wear them.
“Just checking in on them and seeing if there’s anything we can help them provide -- if it’s masks or posters,” Neff said. “They’ve been awesome. They’ve been very receptive. We’ve had some people clap when we brought their signs because they had to make their own, but I think people are really excited and appreciate that we’re out giving them these resources.”
The outreach efforts began in March, but Neff said it’s especially important now.
“As of right now, we have a very high hospitalization rate for COVID here in the North Texas area,” she said. “It’s really important that we are out here trying to make sure people are doing their due diligence, putting on their masks, washing their hands just making sure the hospitalization rates don’t go up.”
The visits Thursday also came at a time businesses were preparing for a possible busier few days with the National Finals Rodeo taking place in Arlington and Fort Worth. The main rodeo event is happening at Globe Life Field in Arlington with upwards of 14,000 fans each night, while Fort Worth will host other official events such as Cowboy Christmas at the Convention Center downtown.
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Malissa Lynch and her family traveled from Tennessee to watch her son compete in the Junior Worlds Final.
“It’s super exciting,” Lynch said. “We didn’t get to go to Vegas or like, we’ve never been here either. So, this is kind of neat just to kind of get to see the Stockyards and the longhorns.”
Kellen Hamrah, director of operations at Provender Hall located in the Fort Worth Stockyards, said they are prepared to serve guests as safe as possible.
“We’ve had busy services and we are going to be enforcing capacity requirements. We’re going to be enforcing social distancing, mask mandates,” Hamrah said. “We won’t go capacity in our restaurant. We won’t allow people to sit at larger tables. We won’t let people have their masks off and walk around. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure each and every guest is safe and our employees are safe.”
This week, the Fort Worth Sports Commission reported roughly 26,000 hotel rooms are expected to be booked in Fort Worth because of the National Finals Rodeo. The hotel occupancy rate is currently higher than it was this time last year, the commission’s director said.