Local officials have issued a shelter in place order for the City of Austin, effective Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm through April 13. Mayor Steve Adler announced the order around 10:30 am on Tuesday.
The order mandates that all residents must stay in their residence unless it's to obtain essential services, such as getting food or medicine. Additionally, all non-essential businesses must close.
All non-family gatherings, including social activities and religious services, are now banned. Previously, groups were limited to less than 10 people.
As part of the order, residents may still go outside to do things like exercise, hike, or walk their dog, but they must maintain a six-foot distance from other people. Restaurants are allowed to continue takeout or drive-thru options. Schools that are currently providing meals may also continue to do so, but only in a to-go format.
The following are considered essential retail services and will remain open:
- Grocery stores
- Big-box stores
- Gas stations
- Liquor stores
- Convenience stores
- Farmers markets
- Hardware stores
- Auto repair shops
- Bike repair shops
- Dry cleaners
- And "businesses that supply products for working at home."
Critical infrastructure, including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Capital Metro operations, communications, emergency services, energy, and water and wastewater systems, remain open. Services such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and food delivery services are still operating. Read the full order here.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Austin's shelter in place order is based off of Dallas' mandate, which was issued on March 22. Waco, San Antonio, and Houston followed on March 23.
As CultureMap Dallas reported, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has not issued a statewide shelter in place order, but has banned all elective medical, dental, and surgical procedures in an initiative to increase the number of hospital beds in Texas.
As of March 23, Travis County had 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19.