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Austin Public Health launches COVID-19 hotline for restaurants

Helping Austin Restaurants Today will help restaurants keep track of new federal, state and local regulations during the pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health announced the launch of a new hotline Monday to assist restaurants with COVID-19 related questions.

The hotline, Helping Austin Restaurants Today (HART), can be reached by calling 512-978-HART (4278) and will be staffed Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Food establishments looking for assistance outside those hours can leave a voicemail message or send questions to EHSD.Service@AustinTexas.gov.

Don Hastings, assistant director of the APH Environmental Health Services Division, said as Austin restaurants work to keep employees, customers and food safe, the new hotline can help them keep track of the frequently changing federal, state and local COVID-19 regulations, guidelines and scientific findings.

“We’re hoping this direct line connecting restaurants to our environmental health professionals will help,” Hastings said.

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On March 13, food establishments adopted the City's emergency rules, which required additional public health disease mitigation such as hanging informative signage, making hand sanitizer available to customers and disinfecting surfaces every hour, among other changes.

On March 17, Mayor Adler announced all Austin bars and restaurants must close for at least six weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and all food establishments are now limited to delivery or take-out only.

To help support restaurants offering take-out, the Austin Transportation Department converted paid street parking spaces into temporary food pick-up zones in some areas. Restaurants can still apply for an evaluation for a temporary pick up zone online.

WATCH: Texas governor, Austin mayor considering plans to reopen businesses

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