Information is provided here for City of Austin Businesses and Industries during COVID-19, including definitions and guidance for employers, employees and customers.

Are there recommended measures for my Business to take?

Under Mayor Adler’s Order for the City of Austin, businesses that reopen are asked to help Austin Public Health track and trace customers who may have been exposed to COVID-19. All restaurants allowing dine-in service as well as all reopened services with allowed occupancy or capacity of 75 or less are encouraged to maintain an activity log of contact information for all inside or sit-down customers and employees, including the dates and times they were present in the business and the location where they sat or were served. In the absence of such a log, the Order states, Austin Public Health “may need to publicly release, without limitation and in its discretion, the location where people with confirmed infections have been, with relevant dates and timeframes, so as to otherwise trace contacts”.

To protect the privacy of customers, the logs shall be maintained only for a one-month period and shall be the property of the business, not the city.  The log may be used only by public health authorities if needed for contact tracing.  The logs shall not be part of a database and shall not be used for law enforcement purposes. 

Information to collect on log: 

  • Date
  • Customer or Employee Name
  • Time In
  • Time Out
  • Contact info: either email or phone number
Is my business required to open under the current order? 

No. The decision to operate is up to business owners. However, businesses that do resume modified operations can use the Temporary OLC as the basis for reduced occupancy requirements as they adjust over time. 

Does my business have to follow other City of Austin guidelines when I return to operation? 

With COVID-19 continuing to spread in our community, the City of Austin strongly encourages all businesses and residents to continue following the health and safety guidelines identified in the Stay Home – Work Safe Order. 

Read Texans Helping Texans: The Governor's Report to Open Texas

Open Texas: State Plan 

Starting Monday, May 18, 2020, the State of Texas announced Phase 2 to Open Texas  which expands the limits of businesses opened in Phase 1 and allows for opening of expanded categories of Businesses and services. The State of Texas Order, issued by Governor Abbott, provides guidance for employers, employees, and customers of retail businesses. 

Starting Friday, April 24, 2020, the State of Texas issued an Order stating retail services that are not essential services, but that may be provided through pickup, delivery by mail, or delivery to the customer’s doorstep may reopen. The State of Texas Order, issued by Governor Abbott, provides guidance for employers, employees, and customers of retail businesses.

Starting May 8, 2020, the State of Texas issued an order to expand openings of certain businesses.


Building Occupancy

Under the recent Governor’s Order, some businesses, such as restaurants and retail operations, are allowed to resume operations at partial (25 percent) capacity. Building capacity, or occupant load, is based on a number of factors identified on a facility’s Occupant Load.  

Temporary Occupant Load Calculation

For those businesses that plan to resume operations under the Governor’s Order and do not have an Occupant Load Card or know their allowed capacity, the City of Austin Development Services Department can provide a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation. To obtain a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation for your facility, please email OLC@austintexas.gov. Include the following information: 

property address 

suite number 

contact information for the agent of the property (owner, manager) 

Disclaimer: The Temporary Occupant Load Calculation is based on a simplified formula, which will remain in effect for the duration of modified operations under the City of Austin Stay Home – Work Safe Order, or other applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor's Order mandating reduced occupancy. Permanent occupancy ratings are subject to change when the applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor's Order authorizes 90%, or greater, of the total listed occupancy of the business. 

Occupancy FAQs

How do I find my occupant load?

Building capacity is defined on a facility’s Certificate of Occupancy or Occupant Load Card. For some properties, this information might be included in the building permits (BP) and plan review (PR) folders, available through a Public Search function, in the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) portal: https://abc.austintexas.gov/web/permit/public-search-other. 

If your business cannot locate its Occupant Load, please email OLC@austintexas.gov. Include the following information: 

property address 

suite number 

contact information for the agent of the property (owner, manager) 

Am I required to obtain a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation to operate?

No. This is a temporary designation to be used only by businesses that choose to operate and do not know their current occupancy ratings. 

If I already have an Occupant Load Card posted at my business, do I need a Temporary Occupant Load Card?

No. Businesses with a current Occupant Load Card can base their partial operating capacity on that rating.

How does the City determine my building capacity? What if I disagree with the findings? 

The City will determine your building capacity utilizing the area, in square feet, of the spaces in the building or suite. With this information, they will apply Section 1004 Occupant Load of the 2015 International Building Code and locally adopted amendments. 

Should you disagree with the findings please email OLC@austintexas.gov. If they cannot resolve your concern you may request the next point of escalation. 

Is there a fee for this service?

No. The City of Austin will provide Temporary Occupant Load Calculations, or formal Temporary Occupant Load Cards, in the form of a printable email, free of charge to any City of Austin businesses that need them. 

How do I obtain a permanent Occupant Load Card? 

Occupant Load Cards are only issued for spaces that are Assembly use, which includes restaurants, bars, movie theaters, museums, libraries, and more as classified by the currently adopted International Building Code and local amendments. Please note that retail is not an Assembly use. 

To obtain a new Occupant Load Card, you may visit the Commercial Plan Review webpage for more information under the heading “Occupant Load Cards”. 


Enforcement and Compliance

The primary focus is on education, voluntary compliance and individual personal responsibility to help stop the spread of this disease.

City of Austin Code, Fire and Police are responding to complaints about businesses in violation of this Order. 

The latest modeling data from the University of Texas shows COVID-19 infection rates. The city’s public health is dependent on compliance from the Austin community.

What if a complaint is filed against my business?

If a complaint is filed against your business, the City of Austin Public Assembly Code Enforcement (PACE) team will be dispatched to the site. The PACE team will verify if the occupancy limits per the current Mayor, County Judge, or Governor’s Order have been exceeded. Violations may be sent to the Austin Code Department for enforcement. 

If you have a current Occupant Load Card or Certificate of Occupancy including the occupant load, this will be used by the PACE team to make their determination. 

If you have a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation from the Development Services Department, the PACE team will verify the measurements provided for the calculation.  If the site measurements match, or the PACE team is able to provide a new Occupant Load calculation, they will issue a formal Temporary Occupant Load Card.  

If the PACE team is not able to provide a new Occupant Load calculation on site, the measurements and notes from their observation will be sent to the Development Services Department to make a determination for issuance of a formal Temporary Occupant Load Card.  

The formal Temporary Occupant Load Card provides confirmation to the PACE team and the Austin Code Department that a site visit has verified the site conditions. The Temporary Occupant Load Card must be displayed at the entrance at all times and will be void when the applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor’s Order authorizes 90%, or greater, of the total listed occupancy of the business. 


Direction for Businesses, Industries and Job Types

The table below provides clarification for industries, business types and specific jobs to the extent possible in compliance with the most recent Orders. Each business needs to determine if they are allowed to reopen on the guidance provided. The City of Austin is not providing individual businesses legal advice on whether their business should remain open or close during this time.

Business / Activity Permissions based on City and State Orders
Accountants/CPAs Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Acupuncture Facility Permitted.
Animal Shelter Permitted.
Anonymous/Support Groups (AA, NA, other 12 Step Programs) Permitted. Social Distancing recommendations apply.
Apartment Repairs Permitted only to respond to emergency situations requiring immediate attention
Appliance Repair and Retail Repair: Permitted only for the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of a residence. Retail: delivery/pick-up permitted; in-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy
Arcades

Arcades that offer dine-in restaurant services, and have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, may open at 50% capacity for dining, but must close any interactive functions at the restaurant, including video arcade areas, child play areas, and interactive games.

Arcades that are also bars or restaurants that have more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, may open at 25% capacity for dining and beverages but must close any interactive functions at the restaurant/bar, including video arcade areas, child play areas, and interactive games.

Otherwise, arcades must remain closed.

Architecture Services Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Arena (Indoor and Outdoor) Closed. No gatherings of any size permitted.
Art Studio Closed. No gatherings of any size permitted.
Art Supply Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Auditorium Closed. No gatherings of any size permitted.
Automotive Dealerships Permitted.
Automotive Service Providers and Suppliers Permitted.
Bars Permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy. Child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades must remain closed.
Beauty Supply Store Permitted.
Bicycle Repair Permitted.
Biopharmaceutical Companies, Research Institutions, Medical Device Companies, and Economic Development Entities. Permitted.
Bowling Alley Permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy and must have at least six feet social distancing between operating lanes. Video arcades - see arcades above.
Car Washes Permitted for non contact automatic facilities and when when necessary to provide service to vehicles operating as part of a Covered Service.
CBD Retail Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Charitable Organizations Permitted.
Chemical Supplier for Water Supply Permitted.
Child Protective Services Determined by State Order
Child Care or Day Care Facility Permitted.
Chiropractic Facility Permitted.
Clothing Store Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Commercial Janitorial Permitted.
Conference Facility Closed. No gatherings of any size permitted.
Construction -- Commercial Permitted.
Construction of a Restaurant Which Will Provide Take-Away Once Open Permitted.
Convenience Store Permitted.
Construction of Playscape Permitted.
Cosmetology Business (Salon/Spa/Barbershops) Permitted for these and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice are permitted. Must ensure at least 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Cosmetology School Limited only to distance learning.
Country Club Permitted for Restaurants and Outdoor Sports.
Cyrotherapy Facility Closed.
Data Center Operators Permitted.
Day Laborers Permitted if necessary for Covered Services.
Department of Motor Vehicles Determined by State order.
Door to Door Sales Not permitted.
Dog Daycares and Boarding Facilities Permitted, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating stations for grooming.
Drive-in Movie Theaters or Concerts Permitted with appropriate social distancing, requiring spectators to remain in their vehicles and minimizing in-person contact between people who are not in the same household or vehicle.
Electrical Engineers Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Electricians Permitted.
Employee Training (Pre-reopening) Permitted prior to date of reopening to the public.
Engineers Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Event Center/Venue Closed unless for a Covered Service such as a wedding, rodeo, or equestiran event.
Fabric Stores Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Family-Owned Business See category for type of business, not treated differently based on family owned and run.
Fast Food Drive-Thrus Permitted.
Financial Services Industry Permitted. Includes banks and related financial institutions, consumer lenders, sales and finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, pawnshops, entities that issue bonds, insurance companies, underwriters, agents, brokers, and related insurance claims and agents.
Fire Sprinkler Manufacturing/ Installation Permitted.
Flea Market Not permitted.
Florists Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Food Cultivation/Gardens Permitted.
Funeral Service Providers Permitted.
Furniture Store Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Gaming Business (Bingo Halls, Video Game Halls) Bingo halls permitted up to 25% of the total listed occupancy. Video arcades must remain closed.
Gaming Store (Video Game Sales) Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Gaming Distributor Permitted.
Gas Stations, Auto Supply and Auto Repair Facilities Permitted.
Gun Sales Permitted under State Attorney General Opinion.
Golf Courses (Private) Permitted for groups 4 or fewer participants with on-line reservation system and practicing social distancing. Special considerations per Governor guidelines for golf courses: clean and sanitize golf carts and push carts between uses; except for members of same household, not more that one individual per gold cart; clean and disinfect driving range golf balls between use; ensure separation of at least 6 feet between golfers on the driving range.
Golf Courses (Public, City owned) Modified operations. Visit www.austintexas.gov/parkclosures
Goodwill Retail Stores and Donation Sites Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Grocery Store Permitted. Includes grocery stores, supermarkets, big-box stores, farmers' markets, food banks, convenience stores, liquor stores and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences. Grocery stores must establish controls to:
  • Require a minimum of six feet of distance between patrons in lines queuing outside and inside stores.
  • Require each person to take a shopping cart or placing markers on the floor.
  • Increase the use and capability of drive-thru, curbside, or delivery services.
  • Limit or restrict the number of customers permitted in a store at one time.
  • Minimize the number of employees working within six (6) feet of one another.
  • Provide hand washing capabilities, hand sanitizers, and tissues.
  • Frequently clean high-touch surface areas like countertops, doorknobs, and handrails.
Gyms Permitted up to 25% of the total listed occupancy. Locker rooms and showers must remain closed.
Hardware and Supply store Permitted.
Healthcare Facilities Permitted. Includes caregivers, hospital and laboratories, hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and related retail sales or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services. Also includes veterinary care and all healthcare and life-saving services provided to animals. Does NOT include fitness and exercise gyms or retail outlets that specialize in the selling of electronic cigarette products or cannabidiol products.
Home Builders Permitted.
Hookah Lounge Permitted as dine-in restaurant at 25% occupancy if less than 51 percent of gross receipts are from alcoholic beverages.
Pet Food Supply Permitted.
Horeshoeing (Farriers) Permitted only if the service is ancillary to a health care operation and necessary in the treatment of a medical condition or diagnosis by a veterinarian.
Hotels and Motels (including Short Term Rentals) Permitted for lodging or a restaurant. See Restaurant.
House Cleaning Services Permitted only when for the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of a residence.
HVAC and refrigeration Permitted.
HVAC engineers Permitted.
Information Technology Permitted.
Insurance Industry: Brokers and Agents Permitted.
IT Managers Permitted.
Land Surveying Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Landscaping (Commercial) Permitted.
Landscaping (Residential) Permitted. 
Law Firms Permitted.
Lawn Care Services See Landscaping.
Laundry Services Permitted.
Life Support Training Permitted, if the training is key to the operation of a health care function, needed for health care personnel, or necessary to avoid impacts to the delivery of health care. Community-based training is not permitted. 
Mail/Delivery services Permitted.
Mall Shopping mall permitted to operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the mall; provided, however, that within the shopping malls, the food court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.
Manufacturing (Non-critical) Permitted for facilities that operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy for the facility. See the U.S. Department of Homeland Security CISA Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (PDF) here.
Manufacturing (HEPA air filters) Permitted.
Manufacturing (surgical masks) Permitted.
Manufacturing Vinyl Records or Misc. goods Permitted for facilities that operate up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy for the facility.
Manufacturing/Distribution of Alcohol (Distilleries or Craft Brewer) Permitted.
Massage Parlor Permitted, provided that facility must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations.
Media (News) Permitted.
Meeting Hall Closed except for weddings and wedding receptions.
Mobile Dog Grooming Permitted, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating stations for grooming.
Movers or Moving Supplies Permitted.
Movie Theater Permitted if operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy for any screening.
Museums and Libraries Permitted for facility that operates at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy. Any component that has interactive functions or exhibits, including child play areas must remain closed. Local public facilities may only operate if permitted by the local government.
Music Studio Permitted up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Music producer for live-streams Permitted up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Nannies/ In-home Childcare Services Permitted.
Nightclub See Bars.
Novelty Stores Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Nursing Homes, Retirement and Long-Term Care Facilities Permitted, but no visitors allowed at retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Office Services provided by office workers in offices is permitted. The office may operate at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Optometrist Office Permitted.
Outdoor Sports Non-contact outdoor sports involving 4 or fewer participants is permitted with on-line reservation system and social distancing.
Painting Services Permitted only when related to construction.
Parks (public) Modified operations. For more details on city and county parks visit www.austintexas.gov/parkclosures; https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/news; www.wilco.org/parks
Party (gatherings) Prohibited but see guidance for weddings and wedding receptions.
Party Boat Rentals Permitted as retail pickup/delivery service or in-store retail service at 25% occupancy. Patrons who use the boats are required to comply with applicable city, county, and state requirements.
Pay Day Lenders and Pawn Shops Permitted.
Performing Arts Studio Services provided by office workers in offices is permitted. The office may operate at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Pet Food Supply Permitted.
Pet Services (Grooming and Boarding) Permitted, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating stations for grooming.
Pharmacy Permitted.
Pioneer Farms (Living History Museum) Closed for normal operations. Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy. General Store open limited times. See business website for more information.
Place of Worship Religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship and any other services as approved by the Texas Division of Emergency Management, should be provided by video and teleconference, but otherwise shall be conducted in accordance with the joint guidance issued and updated by the attorney general and governor. Recommended that institutions limit in-person staff or volunteers to no more than 10 people in the same room when preparing for or conducting video or teleconference services, and all individuals practice the social distancing and face covering behavior, including maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet between persons.
Pool Cleaning Industry or Pool Cleaners Permitted.
Pools (government-owned) For more details on city and county parks visit www.austintexas.gov/parkclosures; https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/news/; www.wilco.org/parks.
Pools (non-government-owned) Permitted. Indoor pools facilities may operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy for the facility. Outdoor pools may operate up to 25% of normal operating limits as determined by the pool operator. NOTE: Splash pads and water parks are not permitted.
Printing and packing services Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Professional Services (excluding real estate) Permitted, operating at up to the greater of 10 individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. Individuals must maintain social distancing.
Professional Services-- Real Estate Permitted. Includes agents, brokers, appraisers, and photographers.
Putt Putt Courses See Outdoor Sports.
Real Estate Services Permitted.
Residential Facilities Permitted.
Restaurants Permitted for delivery or take-out only or dine-in restaurant services for restaurants that operate up to 50% of the total listed occupancy. This only applies to restaurants that have less that 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol beverages. Occupancy limit does not apply to customers seated in outdoor areas of the restaurant. Valet services are prohibited except for vehicles with placards or plates for disabled parking. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Child play areas, interactive games, and video arcades must remain closed.
Restaurants (patio area) See Restaurants. Occupancy limit that applies to a restaurant does not apply to customers seated in outdoor areas of the restaurant.
Retail Services (Delivery/Pick-Up) Permitted.
Retail Services (In-Store) Permitted for retail establishments that operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the retail establishment.
Ronald McDonald House Permitted.
Roofing company Permitted.
Security System Personnel Permitted.
Semiconductor Industry and Supply Chain for Industry Permitted.
Shelters Permitted.
Shoe and Boot Repair Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Social Gatherings / Special Events Prohibited, no gatherings of any size permitted unless a wedding, wedding reception, funeral or religious service. Social distance must be maintained at permitted events.
Social Services Permitted. Includes businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.
Software Engineers Permitted.
Soup Kitchen Permitted.
Sport Facility Closed. See Outdoor Sports.
System Administrators Permitted.
Tanning Salons Permitted, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating stations.
Tattoos and Piercing Parlor Permitted, but must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating stations and only as permitted by Texas law.
Tax Preparation Services and Firms Permitted. See Professional Services.
Taxi and Rideshare / Transportation Network Companies Permitted. Includes aircraft, taxis, and other private transportation providers (such as Uber and Lyft) that provide transportation services.
Theater (Movie or Live) See Movie Theater. Live performances closed.
Towing businesses Permitted.
Critical Trades Permitted.
Training Facility for Medical Personnel Permitted.
Vape Shops that sell CBD or Products to Stop Smoking/Alternative to Smoking Delivery/pick-up permitted. In-store retail permitted up to up to 25% of total listed occupancy.
Vehicle Parade Permitted. See guidance document (PDF).
Warehouse Permitted for facilities that operate up to 25% of the total listed occupancy for the facility. See CISA guidance for critical manufacturing (PDF).
Weddings Wedding venues are permitted to open and services required to conduct weddings are permitted. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation or house of worship, may operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy of the facility. Facilities that operate at up to 25% of the total listed occupancy for the facility may provide wedding reception services. The occupancy limit does not apply to the outdoor areas of a reception or to outdoor wedding receptions. A religious service held in a church, congregation, or place of worship is an essential service and is permitted under the City and State Order. Participants in religious services should follow the joint guidance issued by the Attorney General and the Governor.
Wildflowers (Driving and Viewing) Permitted if only household members are in car while driving and if social distancing is maintained while viewing.
Youth Camps Beginning May 31, 2020, permitted.
Youth Sports Programs Beginning May 31, 2020, permitted for practices. Games and similar competitions permitted after June 15, 2020.
Zoos Beginning May 29, 2020, permitted for outdoor areas operating at up to 25% of normal operating limits. Indoor areas, other than restrooms, must remain closed and any components that have interactive functions or child-play areas must remain closed.

Definitions

Minimum Basic Operations

Businesses may continue operations consisting exclusively of employees or contractors performing activities at their own residences (i.e., working from home) or when necessary to assist with legally mandated activities or to further businesses, industries and services that are not allowed to open fully under current orders. 

Covered Services

See list of designated essential businesses in the Order (PDF). To the greatest extent feasible, all reopened businesses shall comply with physical distancing and face covering requirements.

Reopened Services 

Reopened services are those listed in the Governor’s Executive Order GA-21.  The businesses and services that are currently open include in-store retail, restaurants, theaters, malls, wedding venues, museums, libraries, and in-door swimming pools, all of which may only operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the facility. Outdoor swimming pools (with a limit of 25% of normal operating limits), retail to-go, and single-occupant offices are also open.  Tanning salons and establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade may be open if they maintain 6 feet between operating work stations.

Critical Infrastructure

All public and private facilities vital to the security, governance, public health, safety, and economic security of the City of Austin. To the greatest extent feasible, Critical Infrastructure shall comply with physical distancing and face covering requirements.

Physical Distancing

Remain a minimum of 6 feet of distance from other people.

Essential Government Functions

All services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public and all agencies that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public. Each governmental body shall determine its Essential Government Functions and identify employees and/or contractors necessary to perform those functions. To the extent feasible, all Essential Governmental Functions shall be performed in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements. To the extent feasible, all Essential Governmental Service shall comply with physical distancing and face covering requirements. This Order does not apply to the Federal or State Government.

Face Coverings

A significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus lack symptoms. Because an infected person can transmit the virus to others before showing any symptoms, the covering of a person’s nose and mouth when outside your home or residence is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is consistent with the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Austin-Travis County Health Authority. 

Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus. All persons over the age of ten must wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief, when:  

  • Entering into or inside of any building open to the public                 
  • Using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares                                        
  • Pumping gas  
  • Outside and six feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained between the person and themselves

Parents and Guardians of children under 10 shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.  

Medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be reserved and used only by medical professionals and first responders. Examples of how to make cloth face coverings can be found under “You and Your Family” and from the CDC. 

Face coverings are not required when: 

  •  Riding alone in a personal vehicle
  • Alone in a separate single space
  • In the presence of only other members of their household or residence
  • Eating
  • Wearing one poses a greater physical or mental, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. 

Do I need signage for my business about face coverings?

We are requesting businesses to comply with the face covering Order by posting official Austin Public Health and City of Austin signage at their business. The flyer can be downloaded on our Community Resources page - Business Face Covering Signage. 

Social Distancing Guidance for Workplace and Businesses

  • Suspend nonessential employee travel.
  • Prohibit employees working within six (6) feet of one another, unless necessary to provide continuity of Essential Activities, including minimizing or canceling in-person meetings and conferences.
  • Require employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits. Permit sick employees to stay home without providing a doctor's note.
  • Utilize telecommuting options to minimize person-to-person interaction.
  • Alter schedules for employees so not all employees are present at one time but are present at alternative days and times, unless necessary to provide continuity of Essential Activities.
Guidance for Restaurants and Bars

A PDF flyer for guidance for restaurants and bars is available in English and Spanish on the City of Austin COVID-19 Printed Materials and Required Signage here.

Guidance for Childcare Providers and Schools

Also see the City of Austin May 8, 2020, Stay Home – Work Safe order for City recommendations on use of face coverings.

Flyers for Child Care providers to post in their facilities see the Community Resources page.

For COVID-19 related early childhood information and resources in Austin, visit the Success By 6 portal. 

Workforce Solutions Capital Area- For general information or questions about child care subsidies please call (512-597-7191) or email providerservices@wfscapitalarea.com.

If you have any change in status of your child care centers/home immediately update Child Care Regulations (Licensing).

Texas Health and Human Services guidance for child care providers. Questions child care providers have related to COVID-19 can be directed to the Minimum Standards mailbox or DSHS Coronavirus Call Center: 1-877-570-9779.  Care Providers

Resources for Childcare Facilities

If you are in need of supplies, complete this form. While the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force cannot guarantee that we can get you all the needed supplies, the City of Austin and Task Force partners will do all we can to try to help meet these needs.

Guidance for Grocery Stores, Pharmacies and Liquor Stores

  • Establish controls to require a minimum of six feet of distance between patrons in lines queuing outside and inside stores.
  • Controls may include, but are not limited to, requiring each person to take a shopping cart or placing markers on the floor.

Retail establishments are also encouraged to:  

  • Increase the use and capability of drive-thru, curbside, or delivery services.
  • Limit or restrict the number of customers permitted in a store at one time.
  • Minimize the number of employees working within six (6) feet of one another.
  • Provide hand washing capabilities, hand sanitizers, and tissues.
  • Frequently clean high-touch surface areas like countertops, doorknobs, and handrails.

Get the downloadable flyer on the Community Resources page.  

Guidance for Employers

Follow recommendations from the CDC for workplaces which are still in operation: CDC Workplace Guidance.

View return to work guidance.

Guidance for Employees

Refrain from reporting to work if you meet any of the following criteria and self-quarantine.

  • Traveled to an area the World Health Organization or CDC considers a “Hotspot.” 
  • If you have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.  
  • Have a fever greater than 99.6°F.
  • In the previous 14 days have had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and did not have the appropriate personal protective equipment designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Are under investigation for COVID-19 or are ill with a respiratory illness.

Guidance for the Construction Industry

All construction work permitted in the Governor’s March 31, 2020 Executive Order (No. GA-14) is permitted. City will no longer prohibit commercial or residential construction projects.

Employer requirements for all construction work

In addition to the distancing guidelines and healthy work practice requirements in Exhibits A and B of the Stay Home Order, for all construction sites within the City with more than 10 active workers at any time, the person in charge of the overall site (“Site Manager”) shall:

  • Post at the site, in languages understood by all persons working there, a notice showing the sizes and types of shift crews working there, and directions on how the Site Manager is limiting crew sizes and rotating shifts;
  • Conduct a jobsite pre-screening of the general health of each worker, understood by the worker, every day before the commencement of work;
  • Ensure that the site has at least one handwashing station with soap or hand sanitizer for each 15 workers at the site;
  • Prohibit the use of community water coolers;
  • Ensure that shared tools are disinfected between users, and that common areas (lunch and break areas, toolbox talk areas, large equipment, etc.) and collective touch points (doorknobs, counters, keyboards, etc.) are cleaned and disinfected at least twice a day; and

Post in a conspicuous place or places on a site where notices to employees are customarily posted, once such signage is made by available by the City, a sign in English and Spanish providing the social distancing requirements in Section 6.j. of the Stay Home Order, the recommendations for employees in Exhibit B of the Stay Home Order, and the provisions in Section 3 of this guidance document, and information for workers to submit complaints of any violations.

If a worker at a construction site is confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus virus, the Site Manager shall immediately send the worker home, notify Austin Public Health, and follow all directions from Austin Public Health concerning that worker.

The Site Manager shall ensure that every worker who enters a jobsite has signed in and shall keep a list of and contact information for every worker that enters the jobsite every day for the purpose of identifying and notifying workers if they have shared a jobsite with someone who has been confirmed to have the coronavirus virus.

All Construction Industry employers are encouraged to observe the following employment practices for the benefit of the overall economy of the City:

  • Take no adverse action against a worker who declines to work at a construction site if the worker believes in good faith that the site presents an imminent health risk to the health of the worker or others due to coronavirus.
  • Take no adverse action against a worker who has been quarantined, or advised to self-quarantine, due to possible exposure to coronavirus.
  • Do not contest a claim for unemployment benefits filed by a worker temporarily furloughed as the result of the closure of a construction site due to coronavirus.

All jobsites are required to post Construction Signage on every jobsite in a visible location in English and Spanish.

Get the downloadable flyer on the Community Resources page.  

Construction Safety Guideline videos:

Austin Construction Safety and COVID-19

Seguridad de Construcción y COVID-19 en Austin

Permit Applications

City departments have moved staff to telework conditions and are operating on reduced staff within facilities. Close its lobby to walk-in customers and will accept permit applications only by mail or email.

For permits from the Development Services Department follow guidance on their website.

For permits from Austin Center for Events follow the normal permit process. All special events are prohibited until May 30, 2020.

Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) of Austin Public Health has closed its lobby to walk-in customers and will accept permit applications only by mail or email. For those customers who are not able to submit their application by mail or email, EHSD will accept appointments for service at our office located at 1520 Rutherford Lane, Building 1 Suite 205, Austin, TX 78754. Please call 512-978-0300 to schedule an appointment.

 Mobile Food Vendor application reviews on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:45 AM to 11:00 AM will now be appointment only. Walk in appointments are no longer available. To schedule an appointment, call 512-978-0300. Mobile Food Vendor inspections will still occur in the parking lot of our building by appointment only.

All questions and concerns can be submitted via email to EHSD.Service@austintexas.gov or by contacting (512) 978-0300.

EHSD services can be submitted via mail or email for processing and payment as follows:

Mail: APH EHSD, PO BOX 142529, Austin, TX 78714 Email: EHSD.Service@austintexas.gov For establishments needing to make a payment, our cashier will contact you for over the phone credit card payments only.

Business & Industry Assistance

Visit www.atxrecovers.com for the latest updates and resources directly in support of recovery efforts for Austin businesses, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations.   

Visit the Economic Development Department’s Small Business Resource Directory and filter by “Disaster Relief” to find immediate support including a list government and community resources for small businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19. 

Other Resources

Find other PDF resources for businesses, such as Guidance for Adult Care Centers, Guidance for Aging Service Providers, Testing Recommendations, Guidance for Group Homes, and more, on the City of Austin COVID-19 Information for Care Providers page under the Resources tab.