Pre-Approved Testing

Residents who believe they have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms, should call their physician or an urgent care clinic for an assessment, and if appropriate, a referral. Those who cannot afford a doctor’s visit may call Metro Health’s COVID-19 hotline at (210) 207-5779.

Who is eligible for Pre-Approved Testing?
  1. First responders
  2. Healthcare
  3. VIA bus drivers
  4. Individuals who think they have been exposed and have symptoms, with a doctor’s pre-approval.

ALL individuals must have an appointment.

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Not a runny nose, typically

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

If you are a VIA employee, first responder (including SAPD and SAFD), or a healthcare provider, you must go through your command structure to obtain permission for testing. If you are not a VIA employee, first responder, or healthcare provider, you must call your healthcare provider and request to be screened using the criteria on the Metro Health website.

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the South Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) operate a testing site for COVID-19 at Freeman Coliseum. However, anyone receiving testing at Freeman Coliseum must have pre-approval from a healthcare professional. You cannot show up and be tested without pre-approval.

The actual testing takes about 10-15 minutes.

A COVID-19 self-screening tool is available for individuals to assess their risk or the risk of a family member. It will also help them understand if they should seek COVID-19 testing from their health care provider, depending on the symptoms they report. This tool does not replace medical care. Individuals who are sick should visit a healthcare provider if their symptoms worsen, or if they have additional medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease, or heart disease.


If you think you need to be tested, call your healthcare provider BEFORE arriving.

Where can I get tested?
Metro Health does not collect specimens. Specimens must be collected by a health care provider.

What are the costs of COVID-19 testing?
Metro Health does not charge to run a test.

How long will it take to receive test results?
Two business days


The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish. Residents can call 210.207.5779.

Hours of operation are Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturday & Sunday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Email questions or requests for presentations to COVID-19@sanantonio.gov 

Questions about Stay Home Work Safe Orders

Effective at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Mayor Nirenberg ordered all individuals living within the City of San Antonio to stay home and only leave their homes to perform allowed activities. Some of these activities include: securing healthcare, purchasing food and basic supplies, exercising outdoors, and working to provide these basic services to the public. Only businesses and organizations that are providing necessary products or services to the public during this public health crisis are allowed to continue to operate. All other businesses shall close, but may allow employees to work from home. If businesses are exempt, they can continue to operate. Those that are non-exempt must work from home or close immediately.

The order is effective until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

The order went into effect on March 24th at midnight.

The County’s order expires on April 9 at midnight. The City’s order will expire April 9 at midnight, pending approval by the City Council.

No, there isn’t a curfew.

  • Activities related to maintaining the health and safety of your family and your pets.
    • Examples are seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication and visiting a health care professional.
    • This includes caring for a family member or pet in another household.
  • Activities to obtain necessary supplies for you, your family and household
    • including groceries or food, pet supplies and pet food
    • supplies needed to work from home
    • consumer products, such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
  • Working for an exempted business or government that is providing services needed by the public during this crisis (explained in detail below).
  • Outdoor activity, such as walking, running or cycling
    • only if you maintain social distancing, such as staying 6 feet away from other people.

All individuals should remain home, except for when securing healthcare, purchasing food and basic supplies, exercising outdoors, or working to provide basic services to the public.

School districts are not governed by the County or the City but many public independent school districts made a decision to stay closed until April 24.

Call SAPD’s non-emergency line 207-SAPD.

The Stay Home order does not forbid you to travel to other parts of Texas.

There is no permit to allow for operation under the Declaration Order. If you are an exempt business, you do not need any such documents. If you are non-exempt, you must cease business operations immediately or work from home.

  • Accounting/Finance
  • Adult Daycares
  • Aircraft Manufacturers
  • Architecture Firms
  • Babysitting Services
  • Big box stores (Costco, Target, Lowes, Home Depot or Academy that sell a variety of products such as those for transportation and household items)
  • Bike Shops/Bike Repair
  • Call Centers
  • Car Maintenance & Repair
  • Car Rental/Car Sales
  • Car Wash (maintenance of vehicle)
  • Childcare Services
  • Construction Businesses
  • Construction Support Businesses – i.e., plumbers, welders, etc.
  • Courier Delivery Services
  • Dental Offices
  • Dog Training (outside only)
  • Dog Walking
  • Drive through pantries (with social distancing)
  • Dry cleaners
  • Engineering Firms
  • Fabric stores (curbside only)
  • Farmers Market Vendors
  • Food Delivery Services
  • Food manufacturing
  • Food Specialty Stores (bakeries, cookies, etc.) with curbside delivery & call-in orders only
  • Funeral Services (comply with social distancing)
  • Furniture Rental Companies
  • Furniture Stores
  • Golf Courses
  • Government Entities
  • Grocery stores and other stores that sell food and household products
  • Gun ranges (must comply with social distancing)
  • Gun stores
  • Hardware Stores
  • Haven For Hope
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Hobby stores (curbside only)
  • Home Maintenance (Plumbing, Electricity, Painting, etc.)
  • Homeowner Association Services
  • Hotels
  • Housekeeping
  • Interpreters
  • Landscape Materials
  • Landscaping
  • Laundromats
  • Legal Services
  • Liquor Stores
  • Mattress Stores
  • Medical billing
  • Military
  • Moving Companies
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pet Boarding/Pet Daycare
  • Pet Grooming
  • Pet Stores
  • Photography (if they can conduct regular activities at home)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Places of Worship (if they can conduct services online)
  • Pool Services/Maintenance
  • Private Recycling Services
  • Private Towing
  • Property Management/Leasing offices & services
  • Real Estate (if abiding by contractual agreement)
  • RV Sales Services
  • Rideshare
  • Short-term lodging
  • Smoke Shops (prepaid deliveries only; no curbside)
  • Speech Therapy
  • Substance Use Recovery Service Providers
  • Taxi
  • Telecommunication Services
  • Thrift Stores with sales of snacks (curbside only)
  • Tire shops
  • Urgent Care
  • Vaping Shops (only with sole employee conducting online sales and shipping – no curbside)
  • Vitamin Stores
  • Water well drilling
  • Yarn Stores (curbside only)

Homeowners associations and neighborhood associations are asked to voluntarily follow Bexar County and City of San Antonio’s park amenity closures for the facilities in their communities.

  • Basketball Courts 
  • Exercise Equipment 
  • Playgrounds 
  • Splash Pads 
  • Skate Plazas

Outdoor activities such as running, walking, and cycling are permitted as long as the CDC’s social distancing guidelines are followed – maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Remember, the easiest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home when possible, but especially if you are sick.

  • Adult (Megaplex) Stores
  • Bars
  • Beauty Supply Stores (unless providing delivery, pick-up, household necessities, or products related to health)
  • Bingo Parlors
  • Book Binders
  • Bowling Alleys
  • CBD Stores
  • Door to door sales
  • Drive-up music and theater events
  • Elective or cosmetic surgery
  • Event Centers
  • Flea Markets
  • Flower Shops (closed to retail but may deliver)
  • Garage Sales
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
  • Hair Salons
  • Hobby Stores
  • Malls (if there is outdoor access to retail stores and if they can provide pick-up in store/curbside conditions those businesses can continue)
  • Medical Spa Facilities (can only operate if their services can meet the requirements set by the Governor regarding non-essential medical procedures)
  • Nail Salons
  • Piercing Parlors
  • Poker Rooms/Clubs
  • Private clubs selling on curbside
  • Restaurant Dine-in
  • Retail Stores (unless providing delivery, pick-up, household necessities, food, etc.)
  • Roadside vendors
  • Shoe Manufacturing (unless shoes/goods produced are directly tied to a listed exempt business or industry)
  • Sign companies (unless providing services to essential businesses)
  • Spas and Massage Services
  • Specialty Clothing Stores
  • Tanning Salons
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Theaters

Clarification within public domain:

  • There is no such thing as a document, permit, or waiver that will allow businesses to operate to avoid closure:
    • if they are exempt, they can continue to operate
    • if non-exempt, they must work from home or close immediately

You do not need a permission slip to leave home to work for a business that is allowed to remain open. The public is expected to follow the Stay Home order, and enforcement of the Stay Home order will be focused on businesses that should be closed and on whether proper social distancing measures are being followed by those that are open.

If a business is exempt from the order, they should practice social distancing, which looks like this:

  1. Maintain six feet of distance between individuals
  2. Provide cleaning supplies and regularly clean surfaces, especially those that are high touch, such as handrails, elevator buttons, doorknobs and hard surfaces
  3. Make hand sanitizers and hand washing areas available

The CDC provides additional guidance for employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

Students and families can pick up free meals while San Antonio area schools are closed for the coronavirus pandemic.

Meals map for 16 school districts

  • Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.
  • Crisis Text Line – Are you feeling anxious about COVID-19? To get free confidential, 24/7 support for anxiety, text “HOME” to 741741. 
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. 
  • Free, confidential 24/7 support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for oneself and others Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK
  • Childcare Assistance – The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County are providing emergency childcare assistance for residents who qualify.
  • United Way Helpline – 2-1-1 is a social service hotline that helps people in the region find information about local resources in their community. 
  • San Antonio Food Bank – Network of food pantries and mobile food distributions remains fully operational and open to the public for help. 
  • School Meals Map – shows students where they can find breakfast and lunch near them for free. Please check with your school district for regular updates.  
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – provides money for food, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children provides resources for pregnant women and people with children younger than 5.   
  • Meals on Wheels – is providing meals to at-risk senior’s in the community.  
  • Little Free Pantry – is a grassroots, crowd sourced solution that facilitates feeding neighbors and bringing attention to food insecurity. 
  • Rental Assistance – The Salvation Army assists individuals and families who are struggling to pay their rent. We are often able to assist those facing eviction.
  • SAMMinistries – Offers rental assistance, utility support and long-term housing assistance. 

  • Fair Housing and Emergency Assistance – Effective March 18, 2020, the City’s Fair Housing Division is accepting emergency rent and mortgage assistance referrals.
  • Request for Utility Assistance – This program assists with utility assistance for CPS Energy and assists with an Affordability Discount Program Application. Seniors, families with young children, individuals with disabilities, and individuals using critical medical care equipment are eligible to apply. 
  • Fair Housing Council – The Council’s programs and services, such as complaint investigation, advocacy, and education & outreach are available to consumers living in this South Texas service area. 
  • FAQ’s (PDF – English | Español)
  • Bexar County  – Bexar County suspended evictions on March 23rd for 30 days. Get more information about Judge Nelson Wolff’s Executive Order NW-03 here.

Texas Unemployment Insurance Information for Individuals (PDF)

On 3/17/20, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instructed the Texas Workforce Commission to waive the waiting week, for Unemployment Benefits.

Those seeking to apply for Unemployment Benefits will need to submit an application.

You will need the following:

  • Last employer’s business name and address
  • First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer
  • Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked this week (including Sunday)
  • Information related to your normal wage
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a U.S. citizen or national)
  • CPS – CPS Energy announced on March 11, 2020, they will suspend energy disconnects for their customers in support of a request by Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council. CPS Energy will continue to follow the guidance of the Mayor and City Council as they’re leading our city through this pandemic. 
  • SAWS – San Antonio Water System is temporarily halting disconnections due to non-payment. Service interruptions will resume at a later date, as SAWS continues to work with Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the City Council.
  • AT&T – Waiving all home internet data overage fees for current customers. Offering two months of free service to new customers who order access by April 30, 2020. $5/mo or $10/mo thereafter, depending speed. Expanding eligibility based on income to households participating in National School Lunch Program/Head Start. 

  • Free Wi-Fi There is free Wi-Fi at several City of San Antonio parks. Citizens can bring their laptops and other electronic devices to the park to research, apply for jobs and browse the internet. Students also have the opportunity to complete homework, check college blackboards for assignments, and connect with friends and family via social media. Note: Community Centers are not open to the public.
  • Spectrum Free Wi-Fi Spectrum offers free access to broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 Days for students K-12 and College Households.