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Austin Public Health urges cancellation of events with more than 250 people

The department also issued new rules for restaurants and food establishments.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Friday, Austin Public Health (APH) requested event organizers strongly consider canceling or postponing events with more than 250 people after three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Travis County.

APH is also recommending a range of safety guidelines, including the following:

  • Increase the frequency of sanitizing frequently touched surfaces.
  • Encourage attendees to stay at least six feet away from each other to reduce risk.
  • Keep an adequate supply of hand soap, disinfectants, tissues, and paper towels.
  • Encourage attendees to follow increased hygiene, such as:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid close contact with other people.

“The health and safety of Austin-Travis County residents and visitors is our highest priority and today we’re adopting a regional strategy to help minimize the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority for Austin-Travis County. “We are looking for opportunities to mitigate risk while keeping businesses operating. If we can find the right balance we can better sustain our community.”

Anyone who is sick or has a member of their household who is sick should not attend public events or use public transportation, APH said.


Additionally, new rules have been issued for restaurants and food establishments to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Effective immediately, food permit holders must:

  • Display “Help Prevent Disease” signs provided by Austin Public Health in a prominent public location clearly visible to the general public and patrons.
  • Make hand sanitizer available to the general public and to patrons.
  • Disinfect and sanitize commonly touched surfaces and nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment of the establishment at least once every hour.
  • Adopt and implement a policy that provides for the immediate exclusion of food handlers from duties if they develop a fever greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees during their shift.

Failure to comply with the rules may result in immediate suspension of food establishment permits. The emergency rules expire on July 12, 2020.

More information can be found on the city’s website.


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