Austin 311: More complaints on gatherings during July 4 weekend compared to Memorial Day

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Complaints citywide about gatherings and mask violations over the Fourth of July weekend more than doubled the number of calls taken over Memorial Day weekend.

Austin 311 took in 881 coronavirus-related complaints on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The department says it received 314 complaints over Memorial Day Weekend, a four-day stretch from May 22-25.

Complaints from the holiday weekend included gatherings at apartment complexes, businesses and even closed city parks and greenbelts.

“10-12 people took down the park closure sign at Bull Creek entrance where the restrooms are,” one person told the city. “They are using the facilities and entering the park.”

Our investigative team has heard from hundreds of people about social distancing violations. On Monday, we saw people walk by closed signs in order to use the Bull Creek greenbelt.

But calls by local leaders to stay home grew more urgent ahead of the holiday weekend.

COVID-19 cases have spiked in Texas. The increase in hospital admissions has brought concerns about the capacity to care for sick patients.

The activities of people around Memorial Day weekend are credited with the statewide jump in infections.

Austin’s Code Department responds to complaints about social distancing, along with over occupancy and mask violations at restaurants and other businesses.

Justin Brummer, a supervisor at ACD, believes the difference in complaints from the two holiday weekends is the number of people willing to report the behavior of others.

“The call volume has increased,” he said, “But as far as compliance, we’re finding most of the businesses are very compliant.”

The map below shows the 243 complaints Austin Code fielded over the holiday weekend.

According to Austin Code Data, the department did not issue any violations or citations over the weekend. Since March 2020, ACD says it has issued two citations and two notices of violation.

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