Today, Austin residents have been treated to a combination of new and updated COVID-related regulations from both Mayor Steve Adler and Austin Public Health (APH). From the mayor’s office came the updated stay at home order that extended the current face mask and social gathering requirements to February 16, 2021. In the meantime, APH’s expanded new rules are repeating the same rules and adding new guidelines through April 15, 2021 for back-to-back restaurants and food and drink pickup areas.
The APH health authority regulations require restaurants with counter service to limit the number of groups seated at the counter to two people. and counter seats must be six feet apart, unless there is a group sitting together or there are physical barriers separating the seats. If the seating arrangement of the restaurant consists of the counter only, the maximum number of customers admitted at the same time is six.
Then restaurants that offer personal take-out service will need to designate a separate area for these pickups, either six feet from counter seats and / or tables, or physically separated by a solid barrier. There must be social distancing trails on the floor so that people waiting to place orders can easily stay within two meters of each other. These markings must also be six feet from the counter / tables. People waiting to place orders, to be seated or to collect orders must all be three feet apart and guests must be seated at the counters / tables.
The city’s stay-home orders include new quarantine requirements that require people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to someone infected with the virus 10 days after symptoms first appeared or their last moment of interaction must be quarantined for a long time. compared to the previous standard of 14 days (although there are various limitations).
Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Medical Director and Health Authority, said earlier today that there will likely be curfews on restaurants and bars as the city escalates to level 5 of its risk-based COVID-19 guidelines due to an increasing number of cases and hospitalizations