City of Austin to Modify City Departmental Operations in Light of Increases in COVID-19 Cases

City of Austin to Modify City Departmental Operations in Light of Increases in COVID-19 Cases
Thu, 07/02/2020 – 12:27

Austin Texas – The City of Austin is modifying City departmental operations prompted by an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The following six (6) departments are modifying their operations in efforts to stop the increase of COVID-19 cases:
Austin Code Department (ACD) 
Administrative hearings for the Austin Code Department are being pushed back one week. Therefore, the new start date will be July 15 instead of the original July 8 date.  
All remaining public facing ACD services such as the cashier’s office and licensing intake have not changed and remain operating by appointment. For more information, ACD customers can review the ACD Reopening Update.  
Austin Public Health (APH) 
Now more than ever, APH wants to ensure everyone is receiving the proper vaccinations on-time to avoid potential vaccine-preventable outbreaks as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. APH has reopened a Shots for Tots clinic with limited operations and is already working through a waitlist of appointments that were scheduled due to closing. APH will need to prioritize those who are at higher risk of severe symptoms as services expand. Those who do not already have 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 you. 
APH’s Immunization Program works to prevent communicable diseases. Many illnesses, if not protected against through proper immunizations, can lead to the development of life-threatening medical conditions. For more information, visit AustinTexas.gov/Immunizations

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) 

ARR will once again suspend the curbside collection of bulk and large brush after a three-week resumption of the services. ARR will still provide these collections for customers who have  

already received a notification postcard for the weeks of July 6 – July 24. Otherwise, these services will be suspended until further notice to assist with essential weekly collections of trashrecycling and compost. Customers can view their collections schedule by searching their address using the My Schedule tool online or downloading the app to their mobile devices.  

To protect the health and safety of ARR collections staff, residents are urged to bag and tie their trash to keep the material contained. Recycling should not be bagged, and please consider using a BPI-certified compostable bag or paper bag for composting collection.  
In early June, the Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center (RRDOC) had begun accepting customer drop-offs by appointment only and collecting household hazardous waste (HHW) from customers’ homes. Due to the increasing COVID-19 concerns, and for the safety staff and residents, the RRDOC will once again close until further notice after July 3, 2020. ARR will, however, continue to offer contactless, at-home collection of HHW; 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 visit austintexas.gov/clothing or call 512-637-7190 for more information about the program 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 go to: https://austintexas.gov/department/center-environmental-research
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.  During this period, 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.  The Office will continue to encourage visitors to make an appointment. When the Office is open, OCC will only allow two (2) 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 (PARD) 
Beginning on June 30, PARD ceased operations at Deep Eddy and Barton Springs Pools pending an evaluation by Austin Public Health.
Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and the projected trajectory of COVID related hospitalizations, 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 in-person programming for the month of July 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 at austintexas.gov/parkclosures.  
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.  
The Parks and Recreation Department will continue to provide park access for COVID-19 related City of Austin initiatives such as drive through testing and meal distribution.  Additionally, and 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.

“The importance of these steps cannot be taken lightly.  We really want to emphasize the importance of responsibility – how we can take individual responsibility for our families and the ones that we love,” said Stephanie Hayden, Director for Austin Public Health. “We also want to pay it forward and think about our community as we are moving through this 4th of July weekend. We encourage you to stay home, think of new traditions within your home with the people that you live with.”

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