COVID-19 Latest: Austin To Reopen More Park Amenities And Facilities This Weekend

Sep 11, 2020

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, Sept. 11. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Travis County sees 101 new cases

Austin Public Health reported 101 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Friday, down from 218 reported Thursday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 96. No new deaths were reported.

There are now 97 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), five more than yesterday. APH reported a total of 18 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Friday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 16.7, down from 17.1.

The area is in stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines. At this level, people are encouraged to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

The North Door permanently closes

The North Door, a live performance venue and event space in East Austin, announced Friday it is permanently closing due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

"During these very dark times that are decimating one business after another out there, it seems we are not immune to its painful sting," it wrote on social media and in an email to subscribers.

It said it would be back "at some point in the future under a new name."

Barton Creek Spillway, tennis courts and other park facilities to reopen this weekend

The City of Austin is reopening some park amenities and facilities beginning Saturday.

After consulting with Austin Public Health, the Parks Department has decided to reopen the Barton Creek Spillway, disc golf courses, neighborhood tennis courts, outdoor adult exercise equipment and campsites at Emma Long Metropolitan Park.

Permitted outdoor fitness classes and approved group activities, like clean-ups and plantings, of no more than 10 people are also allowed to resume.

More information can be found here.

Hays CISD urges patience as students adjust to a virtual start to the school year

Students in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District started school this week. All students are taking classes virtually for the first nine weeks.

Within the first few hours of being online Tuesday, the district's help center hotline dealt with almost 600 phone calls, district spokesperson Tim Savoy said. And that's not including calls that went directly to the district offices. 

"There's some anxiety for sure,” Savoy said. “People, parents and students, are worried about not being able to get logged in or not quite knowing where to go. But we're just telling folks to be patient with us." 

Savoy said that kind of volume was anticipated. While all students in the district are taking classes online right now, about 10% of students are taking their virtual classes at the school. The district provided this option for families in which both parents work and for students who have special needs.

— Riane Roldan

Georgetown hosts free COVID-19 testing starting Saturday

The city will be hosting free, walk-up coronavirus testing from Saturday through Tuesday. Testing will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or as long as supplies last, at the Georgetown Community Center.

The test is a cheek swab, so people are being instructed not to eat, drink or use tobacco products for 20 minutes before the test. 

No appointment is needed. More information can be found here.

UT Austin will play its opening football game of the season Saturday

While the Longhorns hope to make a run at a Big 12 title, there will be a bigger test off the field for UT Austin as it hosts the first mass gathering in the city since March.

UT is limiting the stadium's capacity to 25%, but that still means around 25,000 people could be in attendance — standing in lines, buying food, using bathrooms, riding elevators and screaming for their team to win.

The athletics staff has put a plan in place for seating fans and distancing groups. UT students will have to take a COVID-19 antigen test and get a negative result in order to get one of the limited number of student tickets.

The football team and staff will also be tested before the game. There will be no band and no on-field presentations. This will be the largest gathering in the city since a Post Malone concert on March 10.

Correction: This previously said the state limited the stadium's capacity to 25%. State law allows up to 50% capacity, but UT lowered it. 

Read more from KUT's Jimmy Maas.

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What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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