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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County now has 58 confirmed COVID-19 cases

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Friday, March 20.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This live blog is no longer updating. For the latest updates regarding coronavirus in Central Texas follow KVUE's March 21 blog.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's March 20 live blog.

Top headlines for March 20:

Friday Updates:

8:15 p.m. – The City of Austin and Travis County have issued new orders, in line with Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide order from Thursday.

The order reinforces social distancing by prohibiting gatherings of 10 people or more but allows critical infrastructure to continue operating, including financial institutions, communications, emergency services, energy, transportation, water and wastewater systems.

Under the previous Austin-Travis County orders, schools, massage parlors and gyms were not ordered closed but now are, the City said. Visiting nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities is prohibited unless providing critical assistance.

The City said health officials are not yet able to require the same level of social distancing at homeless camps.

Establishments have overwhelmingly complied with the orders since Tuesday, according to the City.

8:15 p.m. – The Buda City Council has voted to extend its disaster declaration from March 13 until further notice.

7 p.m. – Travis County now has 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are 194 confirmed cases statewide.

7 p.m. – The runoff election for the Texas primaries, originally scheduled for May 26, has been postponed until July 14, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday. The runoff will now be on the same day as the Texas State Senate District 14 special election. Early voting will begin on Monday, July 6.

6:45 p.m. – Animal shelter Austin Pets Alive! has restricted animal adoptions and foster animal pick-ups to appointments only. Anyone interested in adopting an animal is asked to check the website first and make an appointment.

4:45 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott said he was waiving certain regulations to allow pharmacists to conduct consultations by phone and operate "at full strength."

4:30 p.m. – Riders in San Marcos can take the city's "The Bus" transit service for free through March 31.

3:40 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced he will temporarily suspend certain provisions of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code to help businesses whose events were canceled due to coronavirus. This will allow for refunds of application fees paid to obtain a temporary event permit.

3 p.m. - Austin Health Authority Mark Escott held a press conference March 20 to update the public on what they can do to keep themselves safe and what the City is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He said the City is still trying to find those who may have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. City officials are urging those in the Austin area to check on how they are feeling before going outside. If you have a cough, fever or don't feel well in any way, you are asked to stay home. You are also asked to check yourself for symptoms when you return home. 

Young people, as well as seniors and those with pre-existing health issues, should follow this advice so they don't infect others with the virus.

Watch the full press conference below.

WATCH: Coronavirus in Texas update: How Austin leaders are handling COVID-19

1:30 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott announces that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has included the entire state of Texas in its Economic Injury Disaster Declaration. It grants access to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which will provide long-term, low-interest loans to qualifying businesses across the state. Click here for more information.

1 p.m. - The total coronavirus cases in Williamson County reaches 8.

11:55 a.m. - After after the Texas Supreme Court suspended residential eviction proceedings through April 19, the Texas governor issued the following statement: 

"This decision by the Texas Supreme Court offers a lifeline to many Texans who are beginning to feel the economic impact of COVID-19," said Gov. Greg Abbott. "Temporarily suspending residential eviction proceedings will provide Texans whose personal income has been affected by the spread of this virus with greater flexibility to meet their housing needs and provide for their families. I thank the Texas Supreme Court for its swift action on this matter."

11:50 a.m. - Gov. Abbott announced he ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to temporarily waive inmate fees for health care services related to COVID-19. 

11 a.m. - In partnership with Favor Delivery, H-E-B is offering a service to seniors aged 60 and over that allows them to access their own personal shopper by phone to get food and supplies delivered to their home. More information about the service can be found on H-E-B's website

Here's a list of stores offering hours just for seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.

10:30 a.m. - Starting at midnight on Friday, March 20, all Texas message establishments will close until April 3, according to the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration.

9:30 a.m. - Hays County has confirmed its sixth positive coronavirus case.

9:25 a.m. - Capital Metro will not run MetroRail on Saturdays until further notice. CapMetro is implementing a new Saturday-only route between Lakeline and its Leander station. Here are a few more updates from CapMetro:

  • We will not be running UT Shuttle services next week and we will postpone these routes until further notice.
  • We will be posting these and further service changes here: capmetro.org/COVID19
  • We are working on a community partnership for our MetroAccess customers. These customers belong to the most vulnerable population and we have been looking for ways to deliver essentials to them, so they don’t have to worry about leaving their homes. An announcement will follow later today.

WATCH: Gov. Abbott orders closure of schools, bars, restaurant dining rooms


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