Shelter in Place Order

Stay Home, Work Safe

*Read the full order and the City of Austin official summary and FAQ here

On Tuesday March 24 the City of Austin and Travis County released an order requiring residents to stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. This means that people must remain at home except for essential work and business. All gatherings outside of the home are banned under this order. 

At a press conference, Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged everyone to only go out if you need essential things, like groceries. He also recommended that schools stay closed for the rest of the semester. Click here to watch the full press conference.

The City considers essential work and business to be these categories:

You CAN leave your house for:

  • Health and safety: to go to the doctor, the emergency room, or to get medicine
  • Necessary supplies and services: to get groceries and food, or other needed supplies 
  • Outdoor activity and exercise: to go for a walk or exercise outside (must keep 6 feet from others outside) 
  • Essential work and services: going to work at an essential business(partial list below), which includes services needed to “maintain the health, safety and welfare of the public”
  • Care for others: to care for family members or the elderly, or any vulnerable person who does not live with you

What will remain open?

The following WILL remain open:

  • Hospitals and clinics
  • Grocery stores 
  • Restaurants (to-go and delivery)
  • Pharmacies
  • Hardware stores 
  • Laundromats
  • Gas stations and Liquor stores
  • Banks
  • Laundromats
  • Post office and shipping facilities
  • Child care facilities 

Service and non-profit organizations that provide food, shelter, and other necessities to the community can stay open but should practice social distancing.  

Can I still go outside?

Yes, going for walks and being outside is allowed. When outside, everyone needs to keep at least 6 feet between themselves and others. 

Why is this happening?

The order is designed to reduce the number of people each individual interacts with on a daily basis, reducing the spread of the virus from person to person.“We cannot wait until the hospitals are already overrun to make decisions” said Dr. Escott (System Medical Director for Austin and Travis County). He stated that without people staying in their homes as much as possible, our city and county hospitals would likely be full in 3-4 weeks. He stated that hospitals currently have beds and ventilators for 3-4 weeks but will run out if action is not taken. 

Can I be arrested or fined if I am outside?

The City is saying that they will not be arresting or fining people for violating the order as of now. They are relying on people to willingly follow the order and stay home to stop the spread of the virus. If you experience being stopped or harassed by the police, you can contact the Office of Police Oversight (Austin only) to file a complaint anonymously- This is also a resource if you want to share a positive experience you had with a police officer.

What do I do if I am being pressured or forced to go into work?

If you do not believe your place of work is an essential business and you are still being asked to come in, or if your workplace is not modifying for social distancing (people 6 feet apart if possible) you can call 311 to report it anonymously.

Still have questions? Visit the City of Austin FAQ here

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