Labor Day weekend is upon us, and I hope you all get a chance this weekend to relax and enjoy the cooler weather. Last week, Austin officially entered Stage 3 of the COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines - and while this means we’ve made great progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, we must be extra vigilant over the holiday weekend to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors...
Council Member Pool
Labor Day weekend is upon us, and I hope you all get a chance this weekend to relax and enjoy the cooler weather. Last week, Austin officially entered Stage 3 of the COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines - and while this means we’ve made great progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, we must be extra vigilant over the holiday weekend to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors.
Additionally, City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7 in observance of Labor Day. Though many of the City parks will be open, advance reservations are still needed at several of our most popular outdoor areas. More information on City closures for Labor Day is provided below in this newsletter. I hope everyone gets a chance to head outside over the weekend to enjoy the better weather, but be sure to continue social distancing and wearing masks when out in public.
Finally, I want to highlight the latest updates on the City’s Reimagining Public Safety process. There are a number of upcoming engagement opportunities, and I encourage you to join and share your voice during the planning process. See below for more, and stay tuned for information on the District 7 Virtual Community Listening Session in particular.
Take care, friends, and enjoy the holiday weekend. Stay safe and healthy!
City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed Monday, Sept. 7, in observance of Labor Day. Business hours will resume Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Closures include City Council offices, all recreation and senior centers, cultural centers, museums and libraries. All Economic Development Department facilities will be closed on Labor Day, including the African American Cultural and Heritage Facility.
Trash, recycling, composting and yard trimmings collection for Austin ResourceRecovery residential collection customers will remain on regular schedule. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center will be closed; it will resume hours by appointment only on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The Austin Animal Center will be closed, resuming hours by appointment on Tuesday.
The Austin Code Department field enforcement team will continue responding to Austin 3-1-1 service requests and performing inspections, but administrative offices will be closed. Austin Water’s administration offices will be closed, but the 24-Hour Emergency Dispatch Line (512-972-1000) will be available.
Pools remain closed due to COVID-19. For pool schedules and/or closures, please check online at www.austintexas.gov/pools. The Austin Nature and Science Center and the Zilker Botanical Gardens will be closed, but the following locations will be open:
Clay Shooting Concessions
Advance reservations are needed through Sunday and also on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7 at the following parks:
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Commons Ford Ranch
Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park
Assistance for Residents
Austin-Travis County Moves to Stage 3 of
COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines
It remains imperative the residents limit their exposure to reduce positivity rate
Austin, Texas – Today, August 25, the City of Austin and Travis County announced they are moving to Stage 3 of the Austin Public Health (APH) COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Nevertheless, it remains imperative that residents continue to practice all necessary precautions to continue to reduce the COVID-19 positivity rate.
“We are moving to Stage 3 because our key indicators are trending in the right direction,” said Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott. “As much as possible, though, we would like individuals to continue to act as if we are still in Stage 4 so that we can be in a better place as school starts.”
In Stage 3, higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should avoid non-essential travel, dining and shopping. Everyone, regardless of risk, should avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than 10 people.
We also need the community to continue to be vigilant and practice good hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face coverings to prevent the disease from spreading and help keep each other safe.
“Our key indicators are all showing that we as a community are reducing our COVID-19 numbers, but we need to remain focused on improving the health outcomes for communities of color, who continue to be disproportionately impacted by the virus,” said Stephanie Hayden, APH Director.
While APH monitors the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 new hospital admissions as the primary key indicator for the Risk-Based Guidelines, additional key indicators, including the doubling time of new cases and current ICU and ventilator patients, are monitored to determine the current staging.
An additional key indicator that is being used to determine what risk stage Austin and Travis County will be in is the COVID-19 positivity rate, defined as the number of positive cases divided by the number of overall tests being performed.
This indicator includes data from APH testing sites as well as community partners. All positive COVID-19 results of Austin-Travis County residents are required to be reported to APH; most test providers in Austin also give data on the total number of tests performed. Altogether, the positivity rate is representative of nearly 90 percent of the tests conducted in Austin-Travis County.
“Our goal is to have a positivity rate below five percent by September 8, when most Austin-Travis County students start their school year,” said Dr. Escott. “In addition to an overall positivity rate below five percent, every individual race and ethnic group in Austin should have a positivity rate below five percent.”
The overall positivity rate and positivity rate by race/ethnicity can be found on the COVID-19 Key Indicators Dashboard. About two weeks is currently needed to collect and process the positivity rate data from all of the testing partners in the area, so the data reported is currently from Week 32, the week ending August 8, 2020. The overall positivity rate in Austin-Travis County from Week 32 is 7.6 percent.
Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants (RENT)
Austin Public Health FREE In-Home COVID Testing
Assistance for Small Business
Update on COVID-19
Economic Recovery Programs
This memorandumsummarizes the City of Austin’s progress implementing several programs that the Austin City Council adopted throughResolution No.20200326-088, Resolution No. 20200409-086, Resolution No. 20200423-040, Resolution No.20200507-023, and Resolution No. 20200604-040. Each program supports and sustains local businesses, non-profit organizations, or residents that are financially impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.To the greatest extent possible, City staff is prioritizing equity, need, and vulnerability as they create and deliver this critical assistance during this unprecedented time.The table below summarizes the implementation schedule for all economic recovery programs. Exhibit A provides more information on progress to date for each program.
The Austin-Travis County COVID-19
Child Care Task Force would like to share the
following information with child care providers
Staying Vigilant with COVID-19 Safety Practices
First, we want to thank you so much for your efforts to keep families, children and yourselves healthy and safe during this pandemic. We know implementing these extra measures and precautions is difficult, challenging, and tiring. We recognize and appreciate what you are doing and want you to know it is working to reduce COVID-19 spread in our community!
On August 25, the City of Austin and Travis County announced they are moving to Stage 3 of the Austin Public Health (APH) COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Nevertheless, it remains imperative that residents continue to practice all necessary precautions to continue to reduce the COVID-19 positivity rate. Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott urges, “As much as possible, though, we would like individuals to continue to act as if we are still in Stage 4,” to further reduce spread in the community. We can't do this without you! Please help us by doing the following:
Keep class groups and staff assignments as stable as possible and minimize contacts across groups. The more stable the staff teams are the less opportunity there is for virus spread. For example, if your kitchen staff bring the food into the classroom, there is more opportunity for virus spread. A safer option would be to have the food delivered outside the classroom and have the classroom staff bring it into the room.
Read about Rhode Island's success in reopening child care programs here. Rhode Island’s approach to child care during COVID-19 differed significantly from that of Texas, in that child care programs there were closed for three months. However, the findings there highlight that universal masking for adults, along with reduced community spread, were keys to limiting new COVID-19 cases.
Supporting Child Care
City Council 20200729-089 resolution directed City staff to work with the Austin-Travis County report back to Council regarding the state of child care and supervision and support for children and youth in our community impacted by COVID-19. The report, which was drafted with input from members of the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force includes approaches for City Council to consider taking to stabilize, strengthen and sustain child care in our community. Read it here.
Personal Protective Equipment Distribution
Austin Public Health, CommUnityCare, and Central Health are hosting a series of free personal protective equipment (PPE) distributions over the next several weeks in areas with high COVID-19 positivity rates based on testing data. The distributions will provide hand sanitizer, masks, and educational materials.
Because COVID-19 is most easily spread from person-to-person, health officials want to remind everyone to stay vigilant about wearing PPE to avoid another surge in cases as cold and flu season approaches.
The City of Austin Corridor Program Office (CPO) would like to thank the community for participating in the North Lamar Boulevard Public Hearing held between May 15 and May 30. We are pleased to share the summary report for the North Lamar Boulevard Virtual Public Hearing, which includes responses to the 114 comments received during the official comment period.
Some of the common themes from the official comment submissions included:
Support for continuous, safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities along the corridor.
Desire for near-term, funded improvement plans to include separate, protected bike lanes instead of shared-use paths.
Desire for bicycle and pedestrian connections to Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park.
Desire for landscaping and streetscaping along North Lamar Boulevard.
The Corridor Program Office intends to advance to construction mobility and safety improvements that are funded by the 2016 Mobility Bond as soon as approval is issued by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The segment of North Lamar Boulevard from US 183 to Rundberg Lane is the first major segment of this corridor scheduled to break ground. This project is anticipated to begin late 2021 and includes upgraded traffic signals, pavement rehabilitation, shared-use paths and protected bike lanes.
For more information about the North Lamar Boulevard corridor, and to learn about improvements that are funded by the 2016 Mobility Bond, visit AustinTexas.gov/NorthLamar.
Thank you again to all who participated in the public hearing process!
Reimagining Public Safety Engagement Opportunity
We know the future of public safety in Austin is important to you. That’s why we are making sure you have all the information you need about our Reimagining Public Safety process right at your fingertips. For the latest developments and an overview of progress on on-going reforms visit the Reimagining Public Safety website.
Your voice is important to us as we transform public safety in our community. There are several ways you can share your thoughts and ideas with us:
Council District Virtual Community Listening Sessions Coming Soon: Participate in a virtual public listening session for your Council District. Sign up to receive notice when sessions are scheduled.
Host your own community conversation Enjoy bringing people together for conversations? Sign up to host a virtual listening session for your family, friends, neighborhood groups, etc. with the Reimagining Public Safety Community Conversation Kit.
Several more options will be added over the coming weeks. We’ll send you an update when they are available. In the meantime, we encourage you to join the conversation and encourage your friends and family in Austin to do the same. If you have questions about the Reimagining Public Safety public input process email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In Light of Attacks on Park Rangers, Austin & Travis County Ask Community to Spread Kindness, Not COVID
Austin, Texas – As Austin continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD), in collaboration with Austin Public Health, has made modifications to their operations to keep the City safe and healthy. To help encourage social distancing and space out visitation to park locations, Park Rangers and Park Monitors have worked to share safety messages with park visitors about closures, reservations systems and social distancing.
Since March of this year, Austin PARD Park Rangers and Park Monitors have been assaulted both physically and verbally on at least six different occasions while working for our community. These incidents include employees being yelled and cursed at, pushed into the lake, threatened with weapons, punched, and pushed to the ground.
“It takes a toll on individuals trying to share an educational message, to be personally attacked both verbally and physically,” said Amanda Ross, PARD Division Manager for Natural Resources. “These employees are there to assist the public, not become an outlet for their frustration,”
Park Rangers are trained staff who act as ambassadors to Austin’s park system – helping people who might be lost on a trail, sharing information about how to enjoy parks, and providing educational programming to visitors. They are not commissioned peace officers and do not carry weapons. Park Monitors are staff members who have been temporarily reassigned due to closures within their City divisions. They support Park Rangers by checking reservations, explaining health and safety guidelines, and offering basic park information to visitors.
"During these difficult times we would ask for some grace and understanding as the park system reopens,” said PARD Assistant Director Lucas Massie. “This is new territory for us all.”
Travis County Parks has also made modifications to their operations, and while they haven’t experienced incidents like the City has, they echo the same message.
“We understand it can be frustrating when Travis County Parks have to close once they reach capacity, but we have these measures in place to ensure everyone’s well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Charles Bergh, Travis County Parks Director. “Please know that our hard-working staff is there to help you enjoy Travis County parks safely and whenever possible. In return, we ask that you do your part by wearing face coverings when needed and staying six feet from one another as much as possible to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.”
In light of these recent events, Austin and Travis County are asking the community to Spread Kindness, Not COVID.
“If you see something, say something by calling 311, or 911,” said Austin Park Ranger Program Manager LeAnn Ishcomer. "Austin is an extraordinary community, and we have been through so much together this year. We are asking for your support in making our Parks and public spaces safe for everyone in this community.”
The District 7 office has received questions over the past few weeks about Google Fiber construction in Allandale, Brentwood and Rosedale. Below you will find information provided to our office by Google Fiber:
Residents can expect to receive a Google Fiber door hanger on their front door, letting them know that construction will begin on their street soon. If you have not received a door hanger, but there is construction near your home, please call the Google Fiber construction hotline: 877-454-6959.
Construction will take place over the next few months from 7:00 am - 7:00 pm every day, including weekends.
Construction will take place in the public right-of-way.
Construction crews will comply with any applicable regulations regarding safety, social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Construction crews will place “No Parking Signs” on the street at least 48 hours in advance of construction in the right-of-way, as required by the City of Austin.
If a vehicle needs to be moved, the crews will make a reasonable effort to contact the vehicle owner in order to let them move it. This may include knocking on the doors where the vehicle is parked.
As a last resort, if vehicles remain in “no parking” areas during construction and crews are unable to access the public right-of-way, vehicles may be temporarily moved.
If a vehicle is moved, the owner is NOT CHARGED with the tow and the vehicle is generally put back where it was.
If there is a construction vehicle blocking your driveway, please call the Google Fiber construction hotline: 877-454-6959.
The most disruptive part of the construction process is the shallow trenching done along the street. This usually doesn't take more than 48 hours in front of any individual house, depending on how fast the crews are able to move.
You might see paint markings on your street. They are to designate utility lines and the paint should wash off in 4-5 weeks, under normal circumstances.
If your landscaping has been affected by the construction, Google Fiber will work with you to return it as close as possible to the previous state.
Onsite Water Reuse and
Conservation Code Change Workshop
Austin Water is seeking review and feedback on an ordinance to establish regulations in Chapter 15 of City Code (Utility Regulations) for the voluntary design, treatment, permitting, and ongoing maintenance of alternative water sources that are treated for reuse for non-potable applications (Onsite Water Reuse Systems). These regulations are being implemented to advance Austin Water’s Water Forward Plan, which was adopted by City Council in 2018. The plan recommended adopting ordinances and incentives to increase capture, treatment and reuse of onsite alternative water supplies in new development.
The workshop will provide background and training on the proposed regulatory framework and new incentives to reuse water onsite in development projects. In addition, the workshop will cover updates to commercial, industrial and institutional conservation ordinances that align with the Water Forward Plan. The workshop is targeted to individuals involved in the design, operation and management of commercial and multi-family buildings and their mechanical and plumbing systems.
Click Here to Join the Meeting via Your Web Browser Select Watch on the web instead to join without downloading new software. This works best if you don’t want to install new software. You’ll be able to connect using your computer audio, view the presentation slides and type questions into the chat box. You can join anonymously or provide your name. If you prefer, you can download the free Microsoft Teams App for Windows or Mac on your computer below.
Questions about the meeting?
Please contact Mary Zambrano, Austin Water - Public Information Email
The Summary and Full versions of the DRAFT Austin Climate Equity Plan are officially open for public review. This has been a massive community and city collaborative effort, and staff couldn’t be more proud of the work.
The Public Comment period will last for 4 weeks and conclude on September 30. You can provide feedback through our SPEAKUP Austin page, complete a survey about the plan and download the documents again if needed.
The theme of this UnConference is Abolishing Racist Systems: Building Our Collective Capacity as Anti-Racist Educators. Sessions will be organized around topics identified by participants. Sessions will examine strategies for listening to, understanding, supporting, and empowering students, families, and the communities schools serve.
The UnConference will look a little different than our past events. This year we will begin on Friday September 4th and will continue through September 12th. This year we are offering a combination of self-paced synchronous learning September 4th -September 11th. Articles, videos, podcasts will be offered along with a daily action. We will have live synchronous learning opportunities on Saturday September 12th from 10:00 AM- 6 PM. All of our links to articles, videos, and live sessions will be available on our website. We will have everything available (including session information and signups) using Google slides and will share it Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We will also share this information via email.
We are excited to have the following speakers as keynotes this year:
Grant Loveless - Student Leader & Social Entrepreneur
In addition, District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool is joining our Listening Session on Sept. 8 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.
To request live captioning, American Sign Language interpreting, or for other accessibility accommodations for the synchronous portion of the conference, please email email@example.com by August 20.
Join Austin Parks Foundation in finding a name for the new Zilker Train! Though the Zilker Zephyr has moved on, APF is excited to invite the community to submit ideas for the name of a brand new train that will make its anticipated appearance in Zilker Park next Summer.
Visit austinparks.org/zilker-train to upload your coloring sheet or submit your name ideas now through September 21st. The most popular ideas will then be announced at APF’s Party for the Parks on September 30th, and voting will open for the final selection.
add text to your template.
Party for the Parks
Diaper Need Awareness Week and Virtual Bash
Support the Austin Diaper Bank during Diaper Need Awareness week, Sept. 21-26. This year Austin Diaper Bank will host a Virtual Bash on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 PM! Join for an evening of celebration to support over 15,000 families in Central Texas with diapers, wipes, and period supplies. Register here.
Other Ways to Help
Austin Diaper Bank still needs volunteers. They've adjusted their volunteer shifts to include fewer in order to maximize social distancing, and sanity precautions are in place. For information on how to volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also host a socially distanced neighborhood diaper drive to help collect diapers and raise awareness. Once completed, you can call the Austin Diaper Bank to schedule a time to drop off your dontation.
National Suicide Prevention + Action Month
September is known around the United States as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and is intended to help promote awareness surrounding each of the Suicide Prevention resources available to us and our community. The simple goal is to learn how to help those around us and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.
We encourage all residents to take the time to check in with their family, friends, and neighbors on a regular basis and to honestly communicate their appreciation for their existence by any gesture they deem appropriate. A simple phone call, message, handshake, or hug can go a long way towards helping someone realize that suicide is not the answer.
Need mental health service? You can find vetted mental health services nearby by simply visiting https://www.hftd.org/find-help and inputting your zip code.
For more information about National Suicide Prevention + Action Month and ways you can engage your community, visit Hope For The Day's website.
VIVA MEXICO 2020
Connect with District 7 Online!
Follow the District 7 staff on Twitter and Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at our work. Visit ourwebsiteand check out many of the resources available for you and your community!