On the city's color-coded COVID risk chart we are now in the red area which could trigger new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Today council members will hear from experts to help them decide what to do next. (Photo: CBS Austin)AUSTIN, Texas —
Before coronavirus came along some would say these are just more crazy ideas from the Austin City Council. But looking at where we are today in this so-called “war against an invisible enemy,” something really needs to be done to shoot down the soaring spread of COVID-19.
On the city's color-coded COVID risk chart we are now in the red area which could trigger new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus. Today council members will hear from experts to help them decide what to do next. Austin Mayor Steve Adler adds, “They’re going to tell us whether we’re screaming into it or not and what the indicated action is. But it is of concern now that we’re above 70, now at 75. But we need to figure out what those trajectories are.”
The same experts will also explain a proposal to shut down the city voluntarily for 35 days. Mayor Adler is among those who believe it will allow the coronavirus to subside enough that we would be able to reopen our schools for fall.
Also on the agenda, an ordinance that would declare businesses a nuisance if they don't take more action to prevent COVID-19's spread. This goes beyond the current requirement that businesses enforce mask use. They would also have to disinfect twice a day, post information signs and limit groups to ten or less among other things. Violators declared a "nuisance" will face a civil suit filed by the city attorney.
Business owners may not like the additional rules, but this proposal apparently has some critical support at the top. Mayor Adler said on his Facebook Live Wednesday night, “I got a letter from the governor supporting what the city council’s doing. So I’m encouraged.”
This special called meeting of the Austin City Council starts at 10:00 AM and the mayor says they’ll be done in three hours.