City of Austin, Tex., releases new guidelines for events to begin reopening

The City of Austin, Tex., has released new guidelines for returning events at both indoor and outdoor venues.
The City of Austin, Tex., has released new guidelines for returning events at both indoor and outdoor venues.

AUSTIN, Tex. – The City of Austin is launching new guidelines to enable events to begin reopening safely.

‘Bringing Events Back: Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Safety Guide for Venues & Special Events’ outlines COVID-19 health and safety recommendations for indoor venues, and new outdoor special event permit requirements from the Austin Center for Events. These guidelines are a starting point for events to resume and will be updated regularly as health conditions change.

“Austin Public Health reviewed key indicators, which have been moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “We actually have a glimpse of normalcy as a reward of the hard work our community has done to protect each other with masking and hygiene practices, but to make this a reality, we have to stay vigilant in the protection of ourselves and our community. If we see a surge in cases and hospitalizations, we have the flexibility to reconsider the scale of the event, modify the mitigation strategies, or cancel if needed.”

Since April 2020, the Austin Center for Events, in conjunction with Austin Public Health, have been working to develop an event reopening strategy that includes COVID-19 health and safety standards. The strategy includes guidelines and permit requirements that create a pathway for special events organizers to attain permits for their events. Feedback on these guidelines has been incorporated from event industry leaders.

The guidelines outline the following:

  • Indoor guidelines: Outline recommendations for venues with permanent occupancy designed to establish a minimum standard for COVID-19 health and safety.
  • Outdoor guidelines: Outline recommendations for outdoor events and venues that require a permit from the Austin Center for Events. There is also a new permit requirement. As allowed by City Code Chapter 4-20 (Special Events), special event applicants will now be required to submit a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan as part of the special event application through a new online form. All aspects of the application will remain digital.

“We understand the pandemic has caused incredible economic impacts on venues and special events and affected consumer confidence,” said Austin city manager Spencer Cronk. “Releasing these guidelines now indicates cautious optimism for events based on the current COVID-19 health conditions.”

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