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

Building Occupancy

Under Orders from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, businesses will be allowed to expand their operations based on specific percentages of partial capacity. Building capacity, or occupant load, is based on a number of factors identified on a facility’s Occupant Load card.

For more information about Occupant Load Calculations, visit austintexas.gov/page/occupant-load-calculations.

Enforcement and Compliance

The primary focus of the City of Austin and Travis County 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 City, County, Medical Authority, and State Orders. 

For up-to-date information on what is currently mandated under rules or orders, please visit the Rules and Orders page.

Retail, Restaurant Dine-In and Reopen Service Logs

To assist in both the statewide and local contact tracing programs, all retail, restaurants and bars allowing indoor service and all reopened services are encouraged to maintain an activity log of, as reasonably possible, the 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 they occupied for more than a passing moment. Voluntary maintaining of such a log may obviate the need for the Austin Public Health normal protocol otherwise of to publicly release, without limitation and in its discretion, the location where people with confirmed infections have been, with relevant dates and time frames, 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.

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. 

Except as otherwise provided below, all businesses are allowed to operate at 75% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed. For more information about requirements, visit the Rules and Orders page.

The City of Austin is not providing individual businesses legal advice on whether their business should remain open or close during this time. 

View Table

Business/Activity

Permissions based on City and State Orders

Airbnb/Hotels/Lodging

Permitted. Subject to the 75% occupancy limit. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Amusement Parks

Permitted up to 75% of normal operating limits. Masking and  social distancing requirements must be followed.

Aquariums

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy.

Barber Shops

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6-feet of social distance between operating work stations.

Bars

Prohibited because the county judge did not approve. A bar is defined as an establishment that holds a permit from TABC and is not a restaurant (an establishment that has less than 51% of its gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic  beverages).  Bars are allowed to use drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drink to extent allowed by TABC.

Bingo Halls

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Ensure 6-feet of social distance between   customers.

Bowling Alley and Similar Interactive Amusements

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Ensure 6-feet of social distance between lanes or other interactive games.

Business Generally

Except as otherwise provided, all businesses are allowed to operate at 75% of total listed occupancy.  Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Child Care Services

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy or the 10-person outdoor limit.

Churches/Places of Worship

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit.

Collegiate Sports

Permitted. Outdoor and indoor event limited to 50% of normal operating limits as determined by the owner.

Commercial rafting and tubing services

Subject to the 10-person outdoor limit.

Cosmetology Salons/Hair Salons

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% percent occupancy limit if work stations are at least 6-feet apart. Social distancing, hygiene and face-covering behaviors must be  followed.

Dog boarding/Daycare

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy unless for veterinarian care (if is veterinarian care then occupancy limits do not apply because is an essential service).

Driving Schools

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy for classroom instruction. Ensure 6 feet of social distance between students and instructors except when in car.

Escape Room Adventures

Permitted up to 75% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Essential Business

Permitted.  Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed. To determine if a business or service is considered essential please check the Services/Businesses listed in U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure  Security Agency (“CISA”) Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 4.0 or later.

Fine Arts Performance Halls

Permitted to operate indoors up to 75% of the total listed occupancy; there is no occupancy limit on operating outdoors, however, 6 feet distancing between groups is needed and groups cannot exceed 10 persons.

Gyms and Exercise Facilities

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

In-Home Sales

Permitted. Limited to 10 individuals. Individuals must follow social distancing, hygiene and face covering behaviors identified in the Mayor's Order.

Local Government Operations

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit.

Manufacturers (Non-CISA)

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Massage Establishments

Permitted. Not subject the 75% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.

Media Production

On-set/on-location media production may operate provided they can ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing while working and comply with other safety recommendations. When getting ready to open, indoor occupancy is up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Outdoor occupancy is subject to state and local gathering restrictions. Production office staff not on set should comply with the requirements for the office-based employees.

Movie Theaters

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy of any individual theater for any screening .

Museums and Libraries

Permitted up to 75% total listed occupancy for indoor and 75% of normal operating limits for outdoor.  Local public museums and libraries may operate only if permitted by the local government.

Music Venues

Permitted.  Subject to the regulations applicable to the type of venue (ex: restaurant, fine arts performance hall, outdoor venue).  An outdoor event is limited to 10 attendees or less unless otherwise excepted. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Nail Salons/Shops

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.

Office-Based Employers

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy

Outdoor gatherings/activities - Generally

Permitted. Subject to the 10-person limit unless otherwise provided.

Outdoor gatherings/activities - 75% of normal operating limits

·Swimming pools
·Water parks
·Museums and libraries
·Amusement parks
·Zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar   facilities

Outdoor/indoor sporting events - 50% of normal operating limits

·Professional, collegiate and similar events
·Rodeos and equestrian events

Parks/Beaches/ Bodies of Water (new)

Open. May not be in groups larger than 10.

Pet groomers for everyone, not just veterinary care

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Professional Sports Leagues

Permitted up to 50% of normal operating limits whether indoors or outdoors. The 10-person outdoor limit does not apply.

Recreational Youth Sports

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit. Spectators should maintain at least 6-feet of social distance from individuals not in the spectator's group. Must comply  with DSHS health protocol requirements.

Religious Services

Permitted, including those conducted in a church, congregation, or houses of workshop. Not subject to the 75% capacity limit or the 10-person outdoor limit.

Restaurants

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Dine-in service permitted if customers eat and drink while seated. Outdoor dining is not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit so long as people are seated at tables in groups of no more than 10 and otherwise comply with the health protocols. Outdoor dining areas where people are gathering, standing, and milling around, instead of eating, shall not exceed 10 people.

Retail Services

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Shopping Malls

Permitted up to 75% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Swimming Pools

Permitted up to 75% of normal operating limits for outdoors and 75% of total listed occupancy for indoors. The 10-person outdoor limit does not apply. Some pools owned and operated by the City of Austin remain closed. Please check website for availability.

Waterparks

Permitted. Limited to 75% of total listed occupancy for indoors and 75% of normal operating limits for outdoors. The 10-person outdoor limit does not apply.

Wedding Reception Venues

Permitted. If wedding is a religious service, there is no indoor or outdoor occupancy limit. Held in a restaurant, follow restaurant rules. Held at indoor business location, other than place of worship, limited to 75% of total listed occupancy. Outdoor venue spaces are not subject to occupancy limit and must comply with the DSHS protocols, including face coverings.

Weddings

Permitted. If wedding is a religious service, there is no indoor or outdoor occupancy limit. Indoor venues, other than a place of worship, are limited to 75% of total limited occupancy. Outdoor venue spaces are not subject to an occupancy limit and must comply with the DSHS protocols, including face coverings.

Youth Camps

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit. Face coverings, social distancing, and DSHS health protocol requirements must be followed.

Youth Sports

Permitted. Not subject to the 75% occupancy limit or the 10-person outdoor limit. Spectators should maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from individuals not in the spectator's group.


Additional Guidance for Businesses 

Face Coverings, Social Distancing & Returning to Work

Face Coverings

The City of Austin and Travis County Orders include a requirement for employees and customers to wear face coverings in most circumstances. For more information on face coverings, visit the Orders & Rules page.

Social Distancing

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. In businesses, you can practice social distancing by:

  • Suspending nonessential employee travel
  • Prohibiting 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
  • Requiring 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
  • Utilizing telecommuting options to minimize person-to-person interaction
  • Altering 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
  • Avoiding being in groups larger than 10 people
  • Limiting the use of standard-size elevators to four people at a time, each located at a different corner of the elevator, to avoid close contact

Employees should refrain from reporting to work if they meet any of the following criteria and self-quarantine. You may submit the following letters to your employer that contain additional details and information

  • 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 CDC.

    Returning to Work

    APH echoes recommendations from the CDC on guidance for individuals who have had COVID-19 on returning to work. Current health guidelines require individuals stay home:

    • At least 10 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms; AND
    • At least one day following the resolution of fever; WITH
    • Improvement of other symptoms

    View a Return to Work Guidance flyer (PDF) in EnglishSpanish, BurmeseSimplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Urdu, and Korean.

    Resources and Assistance

    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.
    • For information about accessing the Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) of Austin Public Health services, visit the EHSD website.

    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 (EDD) 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.
    • Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) is helping childcare providers with the Child Care System Stabilization Support Grant from the Austin Chapter of Texas Association for the Education of Young Children (TXAEYC).  Through this grant, EGBI will provide childcare providers in Travis County with business consulting, training, and technical assistance at no cost to the childcare provider. EGBI staff is available for business coaching in English and Spanish via Zoom, Google or by phone. Click here to request an appointment.
    • Workforce Solutions Capital Area is available to help jobseekers find employment. Call them at 512-485-3792. There is also a Job Seekers page for immediate openings.
    • The Texas Workforce Commission is where individuals can apply for unemployment benefits, including a tutorial to guide you through the process.
    • Small businesses and nonprofits in Travis County can apply for an U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loan, which provides loans up to $2 million for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
    • Small businesses and nonprofits can also apply for the Paycheck Protection Program at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program. You can call your bank or find SBA-approved lenders in your area through SBA’s online lender match tool. You can call your local Small Business Development Center or Women’s Business Center and they will provide free assistance and guide you to lender.

    Flyers (PDF)

    Additional flyers can be found on the Print Materials page.

    Construction Industry

    All construction work is permitted. 

    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 hand washing 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 job sites are required to post Construction Signage on every job site 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

    Testing Notices for Employers

    Employers should allow their employees to socially isolate while they are waiting for their results and if they receive a positive test result.