AUSTIN, Texas - The city of Austin is modifying operations for six departments due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Austin Code Department, Austin Public Health, Austin Resource Recovery, Austin Water Utility, Office of the City Clerk and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department will all be modifying their operations in the following ways.
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Austin Code Department
Administrative hearings are being pushed back one week, with a new start date of July 15. All remaining public-facing services such as the cashier's office and licensing intake have not changed and will continue operating by appointment.
Austin Public Health
APH is working to ensure everyone is receiving their proper vaccinations on time to avoid potential vaccine-preventable outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Shots for Tots clinic is now open with limited operations and is already working through a waitlist of appointments scheduled due to closing. APH says it will need to prioritize those who are at higher risk of severe symptoms as services expand. Those without an established health provider for their child are encouraged to establish patient care for regular well-child checks and vaccinations. Families may also utilize VaccineFinder.org to find locations providing vaccinations near them. APH’s Immunization Program works to prevent communicable diseases.
Austin Resource Recovery
ARR is again suspending the curbside collection of bulk and large brush. ARR will still provide these collections for those who already received a notification postcard for the weeks of July 6 - July 24. Otherwise, these services will be suspended until further notice. Customers can view their collections schedule by searching their address using the My Schedule tool online or downloading the app to their mobile devices. Residents are urged to bag and tie their trash to keep the material contained. Recycling should not be bagged; ARR asks residents to consider using a BPI-certified compostable bag or paper bag for composting collection.
The Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center are also suspending operations, closing until further notice after July 3. ARR will, however, continue to offer contactless, at-home collection of hazardous household waste; customers can call 512-974-4343 to schedule a pick-up.
ARR has partnered with Goodwill of Central Texas on the Clothing & Housewares Curbside Collection Program, which allows customers to schedule free at-home pick-up of unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories, toys, linens, and housewares. Customers can click here or call 512-637-7190 for more information and to schedule a clothing and housewares pick-up.
Austin Water Utility
The main gate and treatment pond area at Hornsby Bend has reopened to the public. All visitors are required to check-in at the main entry gate. The River Trail and Platt Lane Trail are also open and accessible for hiking and biking activity. All visitors must follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask while visiting Hornsby Bend. For more information, click here.
Office of the City Clerk (OCC)
Between July 6 and July 17, OCC will have staff in the office on a rotating basis preparing for the upcoming candidate filing period and Council budget meetings. The Office will be open by appointment only during the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Starting Monday, July 20, the office will be open with reduced staff to accept in-person public inquiries including accepting ballot applications, petitions, and liquor licenses. Visitors will still be encouraged to make appointments. OCC will only allow two visitors in the office at any given time. If there are more than two visitors, they will be asked to wait in the atrium until called upon.
Parks and Recreation Department
Beginning on Monday, July 6, all facilities and park amenities will remain closed until further notice. This includes facilities previously reopened such as cultural facilities, pools, golf courses, tennis facilities, park concessions, and other amenities. All July in-person programming will be suspended, including sports and fitness programming, summer camps, and cultural programming. In addition, the Barton Creek and Bull Creek greenbelts will remain closed. Parks will remain open; however, all amenities (e.g. volleyball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, disc golf courses, etc) will be closed except for restrooms and water fountains. A full listing of closed facilities will be available here.
City of Austin parks and trails (except for those listed above) will remain open; however, rules regarding mask use and social distancing continue to apply. PARD Rangers will continue to patrol parks and help educate park uses for voluntary compliance. PARD will continue to provide park access for COVID-19-related city initiatives such as drive-through testing and meal distribution. PARD sites identified as polling locations will open as scheduled for voting.
Austin Public Health is encouraging people to stay home this weekend, to help slow the spread of COVID-19. At all times the community is urged to:
- Practice social distancing
- Wear fabric face coverings in public
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wash hands often
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean commonly-touched surfaces.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.