Austin-Travis County launch hotline for restaurants

A telephone hotline has been established to help restaurants in Austin -Travis County with any questions they might have related to COVID-19. The hotline, Helping Austin Restaurants Today (HART), can be reached at 512-978-HART (4278).

The hotline was launched by Austin Public Health (APH).

“We know that our Austin restaurant community is working hard and doing a good job in keeping their employees, customers and food safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also know that it’s challenging for them to keep abreast of frequently changing federal, state and local COVID-19 regulations, guidelines and scientific findings,” said Don Hastings, Assistant Director of the APH Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD). “We’re hoping this direct line connecting restaurants to our environmental health professionals will help.”

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The HART hotline will be staffed 7:45 a.m.- 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, according to a press release from Austin Public Health. Restaurants calling outside those hours have the option of leaving a voicemail message or forwarding their question via email to EHSD.Service@AustinTexas.gov.

RELATED: TIMELINE: Texas' continued response to COVID-19 pandemic

On March 19, Governor Greg Abbott issued a public health disaster for the state of Texas. Abbott explained during a press conference that the executive orders bring the entire state of Texas in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The disaster ordered a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10.

RELATED: Local restaurants offering delivery, curbside and take out service after restaurants and bars shut down

Since then, food establishments have closed indoor and outdoor dining areas to the public and are limited to delivery or take-out only. Austin Transportation Department has installed temporary food pick-up zones in support of local restaurants that transitioned to take-out and delivery only service.

Restaurants can request an evaluation for a temporary food pick-up zone by filling out the online contact form, according to Austin Public Health.

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