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Economic Recovery Updates

This page contains most recent updates on the City of Austin’s economic recovery plan, critical information about federal and state regulations, and services for local businesses and workers.

Contact the City of Austin if you have questions about the information on this page or would like to recommend additional information for inclusion on this page.​

Austin-Travis County Updates

 

Mayor Adler, Judge Eckhardt Update Local Orders

Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued updated local orders in response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott's decision to re-open businesses and industries. The revised Orders include provisions aimed at sustaining support for the community’s Stay Home-Work Safe efforts.

The modified Orders continue to:

  • Ask individuals to stay home and refrain from attending social gatherings of any size outside a single household, subject to stated exceptions.
  • Require face coverings in public, while making it clear that no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed for failure to wear one.
  • Ask individuals to practice social distancing, maintaining at least a six-foot distance from other individuals, and to wash their hands regularly with soap.

Under Mayor Adler’s Order for the City of Austin, businesses that reopen are asked to help Austin Public Health track and trace customers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

View the City of Austin Order, which expires May 30.

View the Travis County Order, which expires June 15.

 

City of Austin Guidance on Statewide Orders

The City of Austin issued guidance on activities and information for businesses that have recently opened, or plan to open soon, under Governor Abbott’s April 17 Executive Order GA-18 which supersedes some provisions of the “Stay Home – Work Safe” Order.

  • For information about how to obtain a temporary occupancy load calculation, visit here.
  • View Frequently Asked Questions about GA-18 here

The City of Austin will continue to provide information regarding closures, modifications and services available for the public. Visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19 for more information.

 

Coronavirus Relief Fund Allocation to City of Austin

The City of Austin was allocated $170.8 million through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. These funds can be used to cover necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19); were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government; and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020. The City of Austin is awaiting additional guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department on permissible ways to spend the funds. 

State of Texas Updates

 

Governor Abbott Expands Business Openings

Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order on May 18, 2020 to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. 

The most recent Executive Order allows restaurants to increase their occupancy to 50%. Bars—including wine tasting rooms, craft breweries, and similar businesses—may open at 25% occupancy but like restaurants, these occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties.

Additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase One may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Via Executive Order, the following services and activities may open under Phase II.

  • Child Care Centers (May 18)
  • Massage and Personal-Care Centers (May 18)
  • Youth Clubs (May 18)
  • Rodeo and Equestrian Events (May 22)
  • Bowling Alleys, Bingo Halls, Simulcast Racing, and Skating Rinks (May 22)
  • Bars (May 22)
  • Aquariums and Natural Caverns (May 22)
  • Zoos (May 29)
  • Day Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Overnight Youth Camps (May 31)
  • Youth Sports (May 31)
  • Certain professional sports without in-person spectators (May 31)

Businesses planning to reopen should visit the Open Texas webpage for minimum standard health protocols outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

 

Texas Workforce Commission Guidance for Unemployment Claims

The Texas Workforce Commission will allow unemployment claimants to receive unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 response if they choose not to return to work for one of the following reasons: 

  • At High Risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Household member at high risk: People 65 years or older are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Diagnosed with COVID: The individual has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered.
  • Family member with COVID: Anybody in the household has tested positive for COVID-19 by a source authorized by the State of Texas and is not recovered and 14 days have not yet passed.
  • Quarantined: Individual is currently in 14-day quarantine due to close contact exposure to COVID-19.
  • Child care: Child’s school or daycare closed and no alternatives are available.

Any other situation will be subject to a case by case review by TWC based on individual circumstances.

Federal Government Updates

 

Federal Reserve Expands Main Street Lending Program

The Federal Reserve recently expanded the Main Street Lending Program by increasing the maximum and minimum size of businesses eligible for assistance. Businesses in good financial standing with up to 15,000 employees or 2019 revenues of $5 billion or less are now eligible. In addition, the Federal Reserve lowered the minimum loan from $1 million to $500,000. 

 

Environmental Protection Agency Launches $1M Grant Programs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-opened The State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement Program, making $1 million in grant funding available to address COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income and minority communities. EPA anticipates awarding five grants of approximately $200,000 each for up to a two-year funding period. No cost sharing is required. Applications are due June 30. 

 

Federal Guidelines to Reopen Businesses

The White House recommended a three-phased approach to enable individual states to reopen in phases. The proposed approach is based on public health outcomes, allowing healthier individuals to return to work while encouraging social distancing or isolation for vulnerable people. 

 

Paycheck Protection Program Reopens

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 9:30AM CST. This federal loan is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. Eligible borrowers can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Visit the Small Business Administration website to carefully review PPP regulations and guidance.