City Council today: Austin police request thousands of face masks


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Here are some of the items to watch for during Austin’s City Council meeting Thursday:

Austin Police request thousands of masks – Approved

Federal funding aimed at helping local law enforcement through the pandemic would provide the Austin Police Department in $885,407 in grants.

A majority of that money would go toward personal protective equipment.

High-risk workers – In discussion

Several council members are calling for more protections of workers vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

“High-risk workers” include those over 65 or who those have underlying health conditions, along with any workers who live with them.

City staff would be charged with creating a program to ensure all employers are allowing high-risk workers to telework or do so in an isolated setting.

Details of the program also might include connecting these workers to unemployment insurance, teleworking opportunities, or even direct financial assistance.

This month, Austin Public Health is tracking 19 virus clusters in the construction industry and six in the retail industry.

More protective housing – Approved

City Council is also expected to approve the purchase of a Country Inn and Suites, which will become the city’s fourth refuge for individuals vulnerable to the coronavirus.

In fact, the city already started moving people into the north Austin hotel this week, staff told council members Tuesday.

Earlier this month, APH Director Stephanie Hayden told Austin City Council that the first three hotels, known as “protective lodges,” were filled to capacity with those experiencing homelessness.

The deal allows the city to occupy the Country Inn and Suites before purchasing it. Council documents say Austin would pay $500,000 to use the building before making the purchase, and then $8.7 million to complete the sale.

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