Austin closes bars, restaurant dining rooms; limits gatherings of 10 or more

Talk 1370 Newsroom
March 17, 2020 - 12:05 pm
Austin Mayor Steve Adler

Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK

AUSTIN ( -- Bars and restaurant dining rooms across Austin and Travis County will be closed for several weeks and gatherings of 10 or more people will be prohibited, in the city's efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt made the announcement at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

The restrictions took effect Tuesday at noon and are expected to remain in effect until at least May 1. Violating the city or county orders is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine.

Food establishments are ordered to close common dining areas open to the public and encouraged to provide take-away, delivery or drive-thru, to limit exposure between individuals. Bars are ordered to close common bar spaces open to the public and are prohibited from allowing consumption on premises.

The restrictions on gatherings do not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, government buildings providing essential services, schools or colleges, or hospitals or medical facilities.

In posts to social media Monday night, Adler said he's been "closely watching cities across the country" and has "been on the record in favor of" the practice.

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