Hays County launches formal ‘small outdoor event’ application process


HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — There’s now a more thorough process for applying to host a small outdoor event within Hays County limits.

According to the county, all outdoor events in unincorporated areas and county properties that are expected to have 50 people or more must get prior approval.

Hays County also announced Tuesday Fire Marshal Nathan Mendenhall will now have a more direct role in getting small events approved. Before, it was solely up to the county judge. Now applications will be reviewed by Mendenhall’s office first.

Music venues like Buck’s Backyard are known for their outdoor live events and concerts and are one of several businesses that have to get outdoor events approved.

“It has been pretty tough, just getting people out,” co-owner Bishop Badger said.

Badger said they do have some events coming up and will need to make sure they plan ahead to get pre-approval.

“I guess it’s just one more hoop we need to jump through,” he said. “But we all want to make sure we’re keeping everyone safe and being compliant with all the rules.”

Event approvals have been needed since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide COVID-19 executive order. The order states outdoor gatherings of 10 or more are not allowed, unless the county approves it. Events approved by counties cannot violate the executive order, restrictions and stipulations.

For the application, you’ll need to answer questions about your event with documentation and the safety precautions you’ll be taking.

“This is a way that the county judge’s office can ensure that COVID safety measures are being taken care of and in place before these events,” Mendenhall said.

If you don’t get approval, Mendenhall said you could face legal consequences. 

KXAN reached out to the county judge and commissioners for comment on the new process but haven’t heard back yet. 

Hays County said the free applications could take up to seven business days to process. You can access the application on the Hays County government website.

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