TEXAS, USA — As the coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, numerous public places announced it would be closing due to COVID-19, including public libraries, animal shelters, etc.
Here is a list of some Central Texas public spaces that will be closed due to coronavirus concerns:
- City of Austin: The City of Austin said it is modifying its operations and some public services will be suspended until Monday, March 30, 2020.
- Austin Public Library: "In an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, all Austin Public Library locations, The Austin History Center and Recycled Reads will be closed to the public starting Monday, March 16."
- Austin Animal Center
- All pools, golf courses, athletic programs, recreation centers, and cultural centers will be closed*
- *Camps and spring break activities will happen Monday through Wednesday and be suspended following the completion of activities Wednesday. Additionally meal services for kids and seniors will continue
- Hutto Public Library: "In consideration of the health of our citizens, the Hutto Public Library is suspending all programming until April. To learn more please visit huttotx.gov." On March 17, the library announced it will be closed through the end of March, starting at 5 p.m. on March 17. Materials that have been checked out may be returned in the book drop outside of City Hall or may be returned after March 31 without penalty.
- Liberty Hill Public Library: "Liberty Hill Public Library will be closed until at least, Monday, March 23. We are asking patrons to keep their library items and return them when we re-open."
The following Austin Parks and Recreation Department facilities will be closed beginning Monday, March 16:
- All PARD recreation centers (except the spring break camps - additional information below)
- All PARD cultural centers (except the ESB-MACC spring break program - additional information below)
- All PARD museums
- All PARD senior centers
- All PARD aquatic facilities
- All PARD golf courses
- All PARD tennis centers
- Zilker Botanical Garden
- Zilker Caretaker Cottage
- All PARD special event facilities
Facilities with PARD Spring Break Camps will provide camp services on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday only. Camps will be suspended on Thursday and Friday. These facilities will be closed to the public for general services:
- Recreation Centers
- Austin Nature and Science Center
Meal programs at all PARD facilities are canceled on Monday. The City anticipates announcing modifications on Tuesday. Youth lunches are being provided by Austin ISD at available at 14 different locations.
The City of Pflugerville will be closing public facilities, such as PAWS, Recreation Center, Library, Municipal Court and Recycle Center. No utility disconnects or late fees will be enforced through March 31. Animals already at PAWS will continue to receive care. For more, click here.
On March 22, the City of Pflugerville announced it would also be closing all parks, pavilions, playscapes and court areas, effective immediately and until further notice. City, local homeowner association parks and Pflugerville Independent School District parks, pavilions and playgrounds are included, as are dog parks and the skate spot. City trails will remain open.
Starting on Wednesday, March 18, the Buda Public Library will be closed to the public and volunteers. The library will continue its curbside service and computers will be available by appointment. No fines will accrue on any items while the library is closed.
The Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry is open for regular business hours (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the first Thursday of the month) by appointment only. To keep up with the general recommendations from the CDC, they will no longer be allowing clients to enter the building to receive services and will be practicing social distancing rules. Clients will instead receive pre-packaged food boxes at the front door. The client’s ability to choose the food they receive will be suspended for now. Thirdly, the patry will be halting all fresh food distributions for the month of March and April.
There will be no changes to essential City of Taylor services including public safety, trash, and recycling pick up, and City of Taylor water and sewer services.
As of Tuesday, the following service changes will be in effect:
- Taylor Public Library will be closed through March 31.
- All scheduled programs, activities, and rentals scheduled at Taylor Parks will be canceled through May 11.
- Taylor Municipal Court will be closed through March 31. All Municipal Court trials and appearances will be rescheduled, and defendants will be notified by Municipal Court staff of the rescheduled dates.
- Splash pads at all City parks will continue to stay off until further notice.
Williamson County has postponed mass gatherings and community events including:
- The ribbon-cutting for the San Gabriel Ranch Bridge over Lackey Creek near Liberty Hill, which was expected to be held March 17, has been canceled.
- The Williamson County Expo Center has canceled all reserved and scheduled events. Staff will re-evaluate what will happen with events scheduled after April 12, every Monday and update accordingly.
- The Southwest Williamson County Regional Park has canceled all softball, soccer and cricket league practices and games.
- The Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department canceled all pavilion rental reservations with group size of 50 or more for Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Champion Park, and Berry Springs and Park Reserve.
- Learn How to Fish, the county’s annual free-family-event, has been suspended and will be held at a later date.
- Vern’s No Frills 5K held every third Saturday of the month at Berry Springs Park and Reserve has been canceled for March 21.
- The Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Summer Youth Resource Fair that was scheduled for April 14, 2020 has been canceled.
Williamson County jail and juvenile visitations have also been suspended.
The Williamson County Justice Center is using mitigation strategies to reduce public gatherings in the building. Through April 1, judges will be suspending jury trials and courts will limit activity in the courtroom to maintain no more than 20 people in the courtroom at a time.
Williamson County EMS is suspending all public education classes through Thursday, March 27.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is postponing or canceling all of its in-person hearings and gatherings through April 3, with that date subject to change. This excludes the Texas Transportation Commission meeting on March 26. TxDOT said, "Work on projects to improve our transportation system continues, as does TxDOT's ongoing work to maintain and operate our state's transportation system." TxDOT's office-based employees are teleworking as of March 16.
TxDOT has also closed the lobbies of its 12 Travel Information Centers until further notice, but outside restrooms will remain available at all times and will be regularly cleaned between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The safety rest areas on highways through Texas will remain open.
Texas travelers can still speak with TxDOT center counselors about road conditions or travel information between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and anyone can call 1-800-452-9292 or visit drivetexas.org to obtain road condition information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Starting on March 18, the Texas State Capitol will be closed to public visitors. Elected officials will be allowed in while staff that can telework will work remotely.
The City of Austin on Tuesday temporarily closed walk-in utility payment centers on Webberville Road and Research Boulevard.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) also announced most employees will begin working remotely and the customer service lobby on Colorado Street will be closed to the public.
The City of Pflugerville is closing public access to City Hall (Utility Billing), Records (Justice Center) and Development Services. Citizens are asked to take their needs online or by phone.
The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) will suspend public access to the central office and PBRA property offices, effective March 18. Until further notice, HACA will implement the following precautions:
- Closure of all property management offices and community rooms, including computer labs; residents should email or call the property office
- Suspension of all resident community development programs, including Resident Council and youth programs
- Suspension of routine work orders
- Suspension of housekeeping inspections
- Suspension of evictions for noncriminal activity only
- Emergency work orders may require additional troubleshooting via phone calls
- Existing repayment agreements will be extended if the household has a decrease in income
- Rent payments should be made either through onsite rent payment drop box or by mail
- Visitors for social purposes, especially at elderly properties, are discouraged; Medically-related visitors and caregivers may continue to visit residents
Visit HACA's website for the latest updates or follow the department's Facebook or Twitter accounts. Residents with questions should call their property manager or community development specialist.
Additionally, effective March 18 and until further notice, HACA will implement the following precautions for Section 8 residents:
- Closure of the lobby; clients should email or call
- Landlord payments will continue to be processed
- Delay in processing contract rent increases
- Suspension of annual inspections
- Suspension of voucher terminations for non-criminal activity
- Suspension of voucher issuance for current and new clients
- Suspension of moves and portabilities
On March 23, the City of San Marcos announced it would close the Children’s Park Playscape, City Park Playscape, all neighborhood park playscapes, dog parks and skate parks. All public restroom facilities and water fountains in all city parks and natural areas will also be closed and shut off until further notice. All other parks and natural areas remain open for active use within the current permitted constraints of social and physical distancing.
KVUE will add more public spaces either suspended or closed to this list as they become announced.
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