Mayor Adler signs new order, requires businesses to take further action on COVID-19

A new order signed by Austin Mayor Steve Adler has gone into effect and is requiring local businesses to take further action against the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

As of 7 p.m. March 21, retail establishments have been ordered to establish controls that require social distancing. This means businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and warehouses must require a 6-foot separation between patrons queuing in line in front of and inside stores. 

According to the order, “Controls may include, but are not limited to, requiring each person to take a shopping cart or placing markers on the floor.” The goal is to keep people from being too close together.

“While the City is doing well minimizing close interactions, we must do more to reduce the number of people congregating closely at stores,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “This new City Order issued tonight requires this and adds requirements for certain critical infrastructure to help ensure they are able to maintain operations. Let’s stay focused on physical separation, and do our part to flatten the curve.”

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Austin Public Health has also strongly encouraged critical infrastructure employers to institute non-invasive temperature checks for staff prior to them entering a facility. Any employee with a temperature above 99.6 Fahrenheit should be sent home, a press release from the city said. 

Employees who work in and around critical infrastructure should refrain from reporting to work when falling within any of the following criteria:

  •  Has signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat;
  • In the previous 14 days has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and did not have the appropriate personal protective equipment designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); is under investigation for COVID-19; or is ill with a respiratory illness; or
  • Has traveled to an area the World Health Organization or CDC considers a “hotspot”.  

While the new order only recommends temperature screenings, the Health Authority says there could be future requirements. 



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