BOWIE (KFDX/KJTL) — To limit the spread of COVID-19 Lake Amon G. Carter is officially closed as all boat ramps have been blocked off for the time being. There will be no boating or kayaking during this time, but bankside fishing will still be allowed.
Although Bowie city manager Bert Cunningham said the decision to close the lake was for the safety of the public, it still left many unanswered questions for some.
“It is going to slow our sales, this is a seasonal store, and right now, it’s our money-making times,” Matilda’s Lakeside Store resident manager Amber Cumbie said
Cumbie said there’s usually non-stop traffic in the store this time of year, but it’s empty for now as Cunningham took it upon himself to make the decision to temporarily close the lake.
“This is not permanent, I hate we have to close it down for our residents because it is a relief during this stressful time, but in order to keep people out that may be carriers of this virus, you know, I made a tough decision,” Cunningham said.
It’s a decision that has been met with plenty of scrutiny.
“You know, I made a tough decision. I’ve caught a lot of complaints from people about it, I even had one guy call me ‘The King of Bowie’ and ‘I can’t act like that’,” Cunningham said. “Well, I’m sorry it’s a decision that weighs heavily on you, but you have to make the decision and live by it.”
The decision was made without the city council or mayor and could have lasting effects on Matilda’s.
“We need people in and out of the store, buying our bait and ice cream and pizzas, the main reason they come to this store is because they are going straight into the lake or leaving the lake, so if we don’t have any of that traffic then it’s going to be detrimental to this store,” Cumbie said.
Cunningham emphasized that this decision was made based on the concern of people coming in from the Metroplex since their lakes are already closed.
Being a small town during a pandemic, Cunningham feels like you shouldn’t take any chances.
“Like the Bible says, ‘this too shall pass.’ It’s not going to be forever, it’s going to be over in a while.” Cunningham said. “While it’s here, we need to be careful and that’s all we’re trying to do is be careful.”
Cumbie said they will miss their peak months of business if the lake stays closed.
“This is the season that the store has to make money and if it doesn’t make money this season then this little store will not remain open.”