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Austin Bans Gatherings of More than 10 People, Closes Bars and Restaurants

The city and Travis county take dramatic steps to fight the spread of COVID-19

Austin is shutting down.

Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt have declared a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people, closing all bar and restaurant dining rooms in the area.

These drastic measures are in line with the new guidelines announced yesterday by President Trump and his Coronavirus task force to combat the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

The restrictions in Austin take effect immediately (12 p.m., local time) and will last until May 1. Violating the order comes with a hefty fine of $1,000.

Luckily, curbside pick-up and delivery options are still allowed and increasingly available at Austin’s beloved restaurants and bars.

“We have been closely watching cities across the country move to close restaurants & bars,” the mayor said in a tweet late Monday. “I’ve been on the record in favor of this as part of #Austin ’s #COVID19 response.”

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett praised the mayor’s decision and acknowledged the difficulty small businesses in town will face, according to the Statesman: “Like the courageous decision to shutter SXSW, Mayor Adler is taking the necessary step to limit suffering and deaths. Communities across Texas, especially in our neighboring counties, should do the same. With little national leadership, local governments must act. The pain for small businesses and their employees will be great; the inconvenience to the rest of us is not inconsiderable.”