Austin reopens 2 popular greenbelts as COVID-19 cases trend downward

Austin temperatures are predicted to be in the triple digits for the next 10 days, which means many will be looking for ways to cool off. Austin’s city-operated pools, including Barton Springs and Deep Eddy, have been closed for weeks, but the city is reopening two popular green belts to help residents beat the heat.

On August 8, the city of Austin will reopen Bull Creek and Barton Creek green belts, both of which closed on July 2 when the city’s COVID-19 cases began to rise.

Initially, Barton Creek Greenbelt will open as part of a pilot capacity program that will last at least the next five months. (Bull Creek remains open to the public.)

As part of this program, the Barton Creek Greenbelt will open under a reservation system, similar to how the city-operated pools reopen at the beginning of summer – and then close again immediately. In order to enjoy the waterway Thursday through Sunday, residents must book a time via this city portal. Reservations are now live. People without computer access can leave voicemail at 512-974-6797.

In addition to limiting the number of people who can access the green belt, the Barton Creek pilot program can help curb many of the problems that have emerged as the green belt has grown in popularity, such as: B. “Litter (including animal waste), erosion, trace damage, water quality problems and injury.”

“The neighborhoods around the residential entrances are particularly affected by heavy traffic, public poisoning and rubbish,” said a press release from the city. “By closely monitoring usage during the pilot program, Park Rangers will gain insight into Barton Creek Greenbelt’s future management strategies, educational opportunities, and funding requirements.”

Travis County’s coronavirus cases have been falling for the past few days, a moment of optimism during a brutal summer. Currently, Austin’s 7-day moving average for hospital admissions – a key indicator for assessing hospital readiness in the region – is 36, a dramatic decrease from the high of 75.1 on July 8.

Despite the downward trend, Austin Public Health announced on Friday, July 31, that the city would not be removed from its Level 4 restrictions. “Intensive care capacity is still very limited and APH needs to make sure we don’t reach capacity in the EU.” Intensive care units. “

“Our priority must be safety and the maintenance of the highest possible level of public health,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “We have seen time and time again that if we rush to open things, if we don’t have the appropriate safeguards in place, cases will close and shut down the city and we don’t want to be in that situation.” move into autumn. ”

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