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New City of Austin order requires grocery stores, pharmacies to enforce social distancing

The order requires customers standing in line to have at least 6 feet of distance.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Saturday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler signed a new order, requiring retail establishments such as grocery stores, pharmacies and warehouse stores to establish controls to require social distancing, which includes a separation of six feet between patrons standing in lines.

“Controls may include, but are not limited to, requiring each person to take a shopping cart or placing markers on the floor,” the order said.

The City of Austin said the new order went into effect at 7 p.m. on Saturday and includes guidance for critical infrastructure to ensure there are safeguards.

“While the City is doing well minimizing close interactions, we must do more to reduce the number of people congregating closely at stores,” said 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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In addition to the new rules, Austin Public Health is encouraging critical infrastructure employers to implement non-invasive temperature checks for staff prior to entering the facility. Anyone with a temperature above 99.6 degrees should be sent home, according to the City.

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Critical infrastructure includes energy, water, wastewater, transportation, banking and telecommunication networks.

The order aims to reduce the spread of coronavirus as confirmed cases rise in Central Texas. As of Saturday evening, there were 62 confirmed cases in Travis County.


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