Austin Public Health will be conducting a risk assessment for every event of 2,500 or more people
Austin-Travis County has provided additional information about how larger events will be re-assessed in light of last week’s “local state of disaster” declaration related to COVID-19.
Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the City of Austin is specifically focused on mass gatherings defined as a planned or spontaneous event with a large number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event, such as concerts, festivals, conferences, worship services, and sporting events.
From now through May 1, events with 2,500 or more people are prohibited unless organizers are able to assure Austin Public Health (APH) that mitigation plans for infectious diseases are in place. Each event will be evaluated case-by-case. View mass gathering criteria here.
APH will conduct a risk assessment for every event of 2,500 or more people, including special events and permanently-permitted venues with a capacity of 2,500 or more. An Evaluation Checklist has been developed to assess the level of risk associated with public events. The checklist is intended for organizers and staff responsible for planning public or private events where a potential outbreak could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event.
The likelihood of an event remaining prohibited increases significantly if:
- There is great likelihood for extended close personal contact.
- The crowd density of the event is high.
- There are a significant number of travelers from areas currently experiencing person-to-person spread of COVID-19 domestically and internationally.
- There are a high number of guests coming from unknown locations.
- There are insufficient mechanisms in place to isolate, manage and address the needs of people should they become ill or an outbreak occur at the event.
- The plan to disseminate information about the need for basic hygiene practices is insufficient.
- There is an insufficient number of toilet facilities available for the event.
- There is an insufficient number and type of hand washing and sanitizing stations available for the event.
Venues and event planners for events in Austin with more than 2,500 people who have submitted an application for a special event permit will be contacted by local officials regarding their permit application status.
Permanently-permitted venues with a capacity of 2,500 or more, and any other event organizers who do not have a special event permit application pending, should refer to detailed information at www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19 to arrange for Austin Public Health to review their specific events and operations.
APH will be prioritizing Spring Festival events that are closest in date and largest in capacity.
Special events for fewer than 2,500 people, and permanently-permitted venues with a capacity below 2,500, are currently unaffected by the new measures and will not be subject to an APH review at this time. This process is subject to change based on the developing COVID-19 impacts on Austin-Travis County.
New events not already permitted should go through the normal permitting process, into which these risk mitigation strategies will be incorporated.
Anyone planning an event that is outside of Austin City limits that is in, or extends into, Travis County, should contact the Travis County Fire Marshal at email@example.com, or by phone at (512) 854-4621.