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Howell Sand Back in Operation After COVID-19 Issue

Amarillo, Texas-based Howell Sand Co. is back in operation after being temporarily shut down by local law enforcement. According to a news release, officials and the owners of Howell Sand were able to resolve the issues that resulted in the action last week.

Texas-based High Plains Pundit reported last week that the Amarillo Public Health Department asked Howell Sand to close down operations connected to several COVID-19 cases in the area.

“They were, on two different occasions, ordered to quarantine staff, and they chose not to. The result was the spread of coronavirus throughout our community based on cases that were there that should not have happened had they followed the quarantine order," Jordan Schupbach, the director of communications for the city of Amarillo, said.

Amarillo's Assistant City Manager Kevin Starbuck attributed part of the issue to confusion about expectations from businesses in the area. "We’ve addressed those issues and want to thank Howell Sand for working with us to get things back up and running quickly," said Starbuck.

According to the release, any employee at Howell who got a quarantine order will be contacted by health officials.

“The only notice received by Howell Sand and Gravel Co. was delivered at the time of closure by the City of Amarillo Health Department on Friday April 3, 2020. Prior to this, Howell Sand and Gravel Co. was in receipt of no request to cease operations," the company said in a statement, as reported by High Plains Pundit.

"The company had taken every recommended action received from city health authorities, including quarantine of specific individuals as determined by the Health Department and closing of the office building and shop, while maintaining yard operations in accordance with, and under the counsel of, the health department.

"Social distancing and protective practices have been in place and will remain in place.

"The office building underwent commercial deep cleaning and disinfection in lieu of manual self-clean as recommended by the Public Health Department. The owners felt they should react aggressively in maintaining a safe environment and do everything possible to insure the health of their employees and customers. This was done Monday, March 30, five days prior to closing of the business.

"It is unfortunate that Howell Sand and Gravel Co. was misrepresented during a worldwide pandemic when we all should be working together as one. Our regard for our employees and community has always been of utmost concern," the company concluded."

Howell Sand Co. is a family owned and operated business serving the Texas Panhandle and surrounding communities. The company provides aggregate materials such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, and caliche. It also offers a wide range of services including paving, excavation, demolition, equipment hauling, and project planning.