AUSTIN (KXAN) — Due to rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Travis County is closing parks within its system during the July 4 holiday and is asking Gov. Greg Abbott to scale back the reopening of the Texas economy.
Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe is recommending all local governments cancel events and close public spaces ahead of the July 4 weekend to discourage social gatherings and prevent additional spread of the virus.
The parks will be closed on Thursday, July 2, and are expected to reopen on July 7.
The City of Austin will close its parks July 3 and keep them closed over the holiday weekend.
On Monday, Biscoe sent a letter to Abbott requesting that the state mandate wearing of masks, prohibit social gatherings of 10 or more people, reduce business occupancy to 25%, and allow Texas’ largest cities to implement stay at home orders.
“Our numbers of confirmed positives and the lag time between the testing and the test results have outstripped both our ability to contact trace and the utility in contact tracing,” Biscoe said in the letter. “If you are not willing to take these actions on behalf of the state, please roll back your restriction on local leaders being able to take these swift actions to safeguard the health of our communities.”
Gov. Abbott told KXAN Monday that state leaders are “looking carefully at data” to see if the recent orders to close service inside bars, reduce restaurant capacity and suspending elective surgeries will “bend the curve of COVID-19.”
“We also want to see the outcome of the shutdowns that were just announced. Hopefully, the shutdowns will be sufficient to bend the curve of COVID-19,” Gov. Abbott said. “If not, we all need to understand additional actions will be necessary.”