Austin Public Health urges organizers to cancel events of 250+ people, issues new rules for restaurants

6th Street in downtown Austin._640753

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health announced Friday that event organizers are strongly recommended to to cancel due to coronavirus concerns — and the three presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Travis County.

Additionally, APH is recommending several safety guidelines, including:

  • Increase the frequency of sanitizing frequently touched surfaces
  • Encourage attendees to stay at least six feet away from each other to reduce risk
  • Keep an adequate supply of hand soap, disinfectants, tissues, and paper towels
  • Encourage attendees to follow increased hygiene, such as hand-washing for 20 seconds with soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitizer

“The health and safety of Austin-Travis County residents and visitors is our highest priority and today we’re adopting a regional strategy to help minimize the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority for Austin-Travis County. “We are looking for opportunities to mitigate risk while keeping businesses operating. If we can find the right balance we can better sustain our community.”


Meanwhile, emergency rules for restaurants and food establishments have been recommended as well.

New rules, effective Friday, March 13, state that food permit holders and people in charge of food businesses must:

  • Display “Help Prevent Disease” signs provided by Austin Public Health in a prominent public location clearly visible to the general public and patrons
  • Make hand sanitizer available to the general public and to patron
  • Disinfect and sanitize commonly touched surfaces and nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment of the establishment at least once every hour
  • Adopt and implement a policy that provides for the immediate exclusion of food handlers from duties if they develop a fever greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees during their shift

APH says that failure to comply with these Emergency Rules, which will expire July 12, will constitute a public health hazard and may result in immediate suspension of food establishment permits.

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