AUSTIN (KXAN) — The most recent numbers from Austin 3-1-1 show that in less than a month, more than 1,200 events or gatherings have been reported to the city as having too many people in attendance.
These over-capacity reports are part of the more than 9,000 3-1-1 service requests under the COVID-19 umbrella made between March 3 and March 30.
This comes after weeks of policy changes aimed at reducing in-person interactions in order to slow the spread of the virus.
The city banned gatherings of 2,500 people or more on March 9, banned gatherings of 250+ people on March 14, banned gatherings of more than 10 people to mirror a state order on March 20, and on March 25 the city’s stay-at-home order went into effect.
The order barring groups of more than 10 people will be in effect through May 1, but it is important to note that the stay-at-home order, which goes through April 13, bars all social gatherings. The stay-at-home order prohibits “non-essential businesses and non-essential activities, including social gatherings regardless of the number of people together.” It does, however, allow outdoor activity and exercise — as long as you maintain a six-foot distance from other people.
The city said it saw an increase in calls to 3-1-1 since Tuesday, March 24 when the stay-at-home order was announced.
The city developed a category for COVID-19-related service requests on March 3.
The subcategory under which the largest number of these requests have been filed is “requesting information” with 4,932 requests. The next highest was the “other” category with 1,423 requests and the third-highest was reporting over-occupancy at a gathering/ event with 1,238 requests.
In total, 1,401 people reported exposure concerns either for themselves or for the public over that period of time.
Many of these requests appear to have been made recently. On Thursday, March 26, 3-1-1 received 173 service requests reporting gatherings or events which had exceeded their occupancy limit. That entire day, 3-1-1 took 789 calls related to COVID-19, the city told KXAN in an email.
Austin 3-1-1 provides the community access to a city ambassador to answer questions or file requests on behalf of callers 24/7.
You can file a report to 3-1-1 by calling 3-1-1 or by entering a request through this online link. The city has not added the COVID-19 service request option yet to its 3-1-1 app.