Gatherings of 250+ banned in Austin-Travis County due to coronavirus concerns


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s Mayor Adler has officially banned gatherings of 250 people or more anywhere in the city or Travis County.

The ban on public or private gatherings, part of orders adopted by Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, takes effect on 2 a.m. on Sunday March 15 and will continue until at least May 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 virus is contagious and spreads through person-to-person contact, especially in group settings and the CDC recommends a community-wide aproach to using “social distancing” to help prevent the spread of illness and death.

A release from the city says the decision was made as part of their strategy to help reduce people’s potential exposure to the disease.

The order defines a community gathering as:

Any indoor or outdoor event that is likely to bring together 250 or more people at the same time in a single room or other confined or enclosed space, such as an auditorium, theatre, stadium arena or event center, meeting hall, conference center, large cafeteria, restaurant, nightclub/bar, or any other confined indoor or confined outdoor space.

Examples include weddings, religious gatherings, parties, funerals, sporting events, social events, conferences and other large gatherings of 250 or more people.

Along with the new ban on gatherings, the Austin-Travis County Health Authority recommends cancelling, postponing or not attending events or community gatherings with more than 125 people.

The order will be enforced by peace officers, the City of Austin code department and the Office of the Austin Fire Marshall. A violation of the order is punishable with a fine of up to $1,000 or jail of up to 180 days.

Business owners with questions about the orders are asked to call Austin 311.

See the full order here.

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