El Paso adds public handwashing stations as toolkit against COVID-19

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Downtown Management District purchased the 19 stations now deployed near stores, ports of entry

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Visitors to Downtown El Paso now have an additional resource to keep COVID-19 at bay.

The Downtown Management District has installed 19 hand washing stations on sidewalks near stores and the international bridges linking El Paso to Juarez, Mexico.

“What we wanted to do is make sure we’re creating an environment for people to go about their daily business in Downtown in a safe manner,” said Joe Gudenrath, director of the Downtown Management District.

The organization requested and got a grant from the city to install the machines, which include soap, water and paper towels. “We’ve located 19 of them throughout Downtown, mainly in the highest pedestrian traffic areas,” Gudenrath said.

The machines on Wednesday received a mixed reaction from passers-by.

“Nobody uses them. They wasted their time,” said David Morales, a resident of the nearby Chihuahuita neighborhood and a regular visitor to the area.

He complained that the homeless come to take the towels and mess with the water. “Police should be patrolling here. They make a mess when no one is around,” he said.

But at least one pedestrian stopped to use the machines late Wednesday.

“It’s a good idea. Very good idea,” said the man who only identified himself as Guy.

He added that other improvements are needed in the area, such as portable bathrooms, because few merchants let customers use their bathroom.

“We need (at least) two units, one on the left and one on the right,” he said. “We see many people sometimes struggle for bathrooms.”

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