AUSTIN (KXAN) — Because the Austin space continues to see a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and pressure on hospital methods, metropolis and county officers have determined to implement restrictions on in-person meals and beverage operations from Thursday night time way of Sunday in hopes of reversing the pattern and stopping New Yr’s gatherings.
New orders from the Metropolis of Austin and Travis County will halt dine-in meals and beverage providers beginning Thursday, Dec. 31 at 10:30 p.m. and lasting way of Sunday, Jan. 3 at 6 a.m. This won’t have an effect on takeout, curbside, or supply choices, which may keep it up throughout these hours.
The limitation additionally applies to any venue serving meals or drink from an onsite kitchen, meals truck, or catering service. Between 6 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. every day, venues are allowed to proceed dine-in operations.
This comes as Austin and Travis County leaders are voicing fear over hospitalization numbers and urging the general public to not exit for New Yr’s celebrations.
“The state of affairs is crucial,” Austin-Travis County Interim Well being Authority Dr. Mark Escott stated in an announcement despatched Tuesday night time. “We’re asking the general public to remain dwelling as a lot as potential and never collect with individuals exterior their households for New Yr’s Eve. We’re asking individuals to solely exit to eating places for take away, supply, or drive way of providers. We’re now experiencing uncontrolled widespread neighborhood transmission of COVID-19, notably in circumstances the place masking and distancing will not be potential, making bars and comparable institutions extraordinarily regarding over this vacation weekend.”
Tuesday night time, Austin Mayor Steve Adler stated he had been assembly all through the day with Travis County Decide Andy Brown and Escott about how one can deal with the area’s worsening COVID-19 numbers.
“The numbers that we’re proper now frankly are the scariest numbers I’ve seen since this began in March,” Adler advised KXAN of Austin’s current COVID-19 hospitalization and positivity numbers.
Later, in an interview with KXAN, Adler defined he expects the Austin Code Division, Austin Public Well being, Austin Police and the Travis County Fireplace Marshal’s Workplace to be concerned with imposing these orders.
Violations of those orders are a felony offense, the Metropolis of Austin famous, and are punishable a effective of as much as $1,000, however isn’t punishable with jail time.
“You realize, I don’t name this a curfew, as a result of in my thoughts, that offers rise to lots of issues which can be a lot broader than the order now we have right here. We’re not limiting individuals’s actions, their potential to have the ability to journey round, their potential to go to the drug retailer or the grocery retailer should you’re out at night time. So I feel what’s extra descriptive is, sort of simply the modification of operations for eating places; I feel that’s in all probability essentially the most apt description as a result of that is so narrowly drawn simply to cowl that.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler chatting with KXAN on December 29, 2020 concerning the new orders.
Adler defined to KXAN whereas the order doesn’t restrict individuals from leaving their residences after 10:30 p.m. throughout New Yr’s weekend, he and different native officers are recommending that Austinites not exit after 10:30 p.m. to keep away from the unfold of the virus.
Adler reiterated Austin doesn’t enable gatherings bigger than 10 presently, and metropolis and county officers are urging individuals to not collect with others who will not be in your family presently.
“I do know it’s arduous, however we’re asking for this New Yr’s Eve vacation, to have fun it with the individuals which can be in your family,” Adler stated.
Gov. Greg Abbott took to Twitter Tuesday night time to say his COVID-19 orders don’t enable cities and counties to close down companies instantly.
“This shutdown order Austin isn’t allowed. Interval. My government order stops cities like Austin from arbitrarily shutting down companies. Town has a duty to implement present orders, not make new ones,” Abbott’s publish learn.
KXAN will likely be masking a dwell press convention at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday with Austin and Travis County leaders about this new order.
Becoming a member of different involved cities
After actions taken this fall El Paso and San Antonio to curb the unfold of the virus, Austin turns into the third Texas metropolis to impose a curfew particularly to curb COVID-19 unfold.
El Paso County officers carried out curfews in October, November and through Christmas, with one other curfew for New Yr’s from Dec. 30 to Jan. Four from 10 p.m. to five a.m.
San Antonio and Bexar County leaders issued partial curfews over the Thanksgiving vacation from 10 p.m. to five a.m. San Antonio didn’t have a curfew over the Christmas holidays.
That is the primary time in the course of the pandemic that Austin and Travis County have imposed a curfew.
Final week in Houston, Harris County Decide Lina Hidalgo tweeted whereas the county wouldn’t be issuing a curfew at that second, “we’re not ruling it out as a final resort if the state of affairs will get worse.” Travis County Decide Andy Brown retweeted her message.
‘We’re working out of time’
Escott stated Monday, “If we proceed to see an upward pattern, then we’re going to have discussions about the opportunity of a curfew towards the tip of this week, to assist mitigate that threat.”
Since he made that remark, hospitalizations within the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Space have continued to rise.
There have been 404 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Sunday, 422 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday and 434 hospitalizations on Tuesday within the Austin MSA.
ICU admissions within the Austin MSA spiked considerably this week, remaining constant over the previous two days with 136 admissions on Sunday, 132 on Monday and 138 on Tuesday.
“We don’t have a lot capability left in hospitals and ICUs to take probabilities this weekend,” Escott famous.
On Tuesday, Travis County reported 697 new COVID-19 instances, the best day day case whole the county has seen since July 9.
Charts may be swiped left and proper. Faucet to discover the information
On Tuesday, throughout a Fb Reside briefing with Travis County Decide Andy Brown, Escott stated he expects the COVID-19 testing numbers are increased than the present dashboard displays over Christmas because of individuals opting to not get examined on the vacation week.
“My expectation is that this quantity will climb considerably this week and we’ll resume this upward trajectory that we noticed main as much as Christmas,” he stated.
The day day transferring common of instances for the Austin space, Escott famous, is approaching the degrees the area noticed throughout its summer time COVID-19 surge.
Escott stated Tuesday the latest projections from UT Austin’s COVID-19 modeling consortium present Christmas and New Yr’s gatherings as a “one-two-punch” which can result in a dramatic improve in hospitalizations and ICU admissions over the subsequent two weeks.
These projections from UT, Escott defined, will not be a crystal ball displaying what is going to occur however moderately a portrayal of what’s most definitely to occur if COVID-19 transmission continues the best way it’s in the present day.
As of Tuesday night, the seven-day transferring common for brand spanking new hospital admissions for the Austin MSA is at 63.4, a stage Austin hasn’t seen since July 20. Escott stated the UT fashions challenge that if present transmission continues, the transferring common for hospital admissions will hit 80 and go “off the chart.”
The median projections from the UT fashions present Austin will exceed its 200 mattress ICU capability Jan. 6 or 7 and would require 300 ICU beds Jan. 14; 400 beds Jan. 21; and 500 beds Jan. 28.
Escott clarified whereas there are greater than 200 ICU beds within the Austin space, as soon as the area has 200 ICU beds full, care will likely be impacted for individuals who want ICUs for different emergencies like automotive accidents or coronary heart assaults.
“You’ll be able to’t probably take care of 500 intensive care sufferers in addition to you possibly can take care of 500 or 200,” Escott stated Tuesday. “What we’ve seen in all these locations which have skilled that [number of ICU patients] is the dying charge goes up considerably, typically triple the case fatality charge in these circumstances. So it’s severe, now we have to behave now, we’re working out of time.”
“That is large and unsustainable progress,” Escott stated of the projected improve, explaining these numbers are why he stated the Austin space might enter the brand new 12 months in a “state of emergency.”
“ these projections, should you can’t do one thing with a masks on and distanced, you shouldn’t be doing it,” he emphasised.
Escott stated Monday the common of recent hospital admissions is up 106% because the starting of December, and new admissions to intensive care models are up 62% since every week in the past. Escott stated at this charge, ICUs within the space might run out of beds in every week.
New Yr’s considerations
On Monday, Escott stated bars working as eating places on New Yr’s Eve are his primary concern forward of the vacation when it comes to escalating COVID-19 threat. “We’d like them to shut,” he stated. “They’re placing public well being in danger.”
On Tuesday, Escott stated of the general public well being stakes as New Yr’s approaches “it’s essential our neighborhood understands: it is a lockdown state of affairs, these are the sort of numbers we’d see once we would wish to suggest a lockdown.”
“We don’t should order that,” Escott continued, “Folks can select to lock themselves down, to remain dwelling, to make these selections which can be gonna lower transmission, and that’s what we want individuals to do.”
Austin Public Well being Director Stephanie Hayden additionally requested the general public on Monday to “take the bottom potential threat” on New Yr’s Eve staying dwelling and solely doing issues with these they dwell with.
“What will be your New Yr’s resolutions?” she stated. “Are you going to be protected? Are you going to make good selections? These are issues we will simply verify off saying, ‘I’m going to remain at dwelling. I wish to be protected, and I’m going to consider others, as properly, in order that I don’t carry COVID-19 into my dwelling.’”
“We’ve seen a sample the place COVID instances improve considerably after holidays, and in the present day we’re in the midst of the vacation season: Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza and main into New Yr’s Eve,” Travis County Decide Andy Brown stated on Tuesday in a Livestream on his Fb web page. “Our COVID numbers, deaths, sufferers and ICU [admissions] proceed to climb proper right here in Travis County.”
Brown famous the area’s COVID-19 positivity charge is creeping up, notably for the Latinx and African American residents of the Austin space.
“We’ve requested all of you to sacrifice quite a bit this 12 months already, I do know that, and proper now we’re asking you to cancel your New Yr’s Eve celebrations as this isn’t the time to assemble with individuals exterior your own home and with individuals who you don’t dwell inside your own home,” Brown added.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler posted on Twitter Tuesday morning, encouraging Austinites to take part within the metropolis’s digital New Yr’s Eve celebration.