Model of Coronavirus

Information for Businesses and Industries

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

What are the guidelines for the recommended customer log for restaurants and services with allowed capacity of 75 or less? 

All restaurants allowing dine-in service as well as all reopened services with allowed occupancy or capacity of 75 or less are encouraged to maintain an activity log of 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 where they sat or were served. In the absence of such a log, the Order states, Austin Public Health “may need to publicly release, without limitation and in its discretion, the location where people with confirmed infections have been, with relevant dates and timeframes, 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. 

Information to collect on log: 

  • Date
  • Customer or Employee Name
  • Time In
  • Time Out
  • Contact info: either email or phone number
Is my business required to open under the current order? 

No. The decision to operate is up to business owners. However, businesses that do resume modified operations can use the Temporary Occupancy Load Card (OLC) as the basis for reduced occupancy requirements as they adjust over time. 

Does my business have to follow other City of Austin guidelines when I return to operation? 

With COVID-19 continuing to spread in our community, the City of Austin strongly encourages all businesses and residents to continue following the health and safety guidelines identified in the Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe Order. 

Building Occupancy

Under the recent Governor’s Orders and for future phases, 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.

Temporary Occupant Load Calculation

For those businesses that plan to resume operations under the Governor’s Order and do not have an Occupant Load Card or know their allowed capacity, the City of Austin Development Services Department can provide a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation. To obtain a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation for your facility, please email OLC@austintexas.gov. Include the following information: 

Property address 

Suite number 

Contact information for the agent of the property (owner, manager) 

Disclaimer: The Temporary Occupant Load Calculation is based on a simplified formula, which will remain in effect for the duration of modified operations under the City of Austin Stay Home – Work Safe Order, or other applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor's Order mandating reduced occupancy. Permanent occupancy ratings are subject to change when the applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor's Order authorizes 90%, or greater, of the total listed occupancy of the business. 

Occupancy FAQs

How do I find my occupant load?

Building capacity is defined on a facility’s Certificate of Occupancy or Occupant Load Card. For some properties, this information might be included in the building permits (BP) and plan review (PR) folders, available through a Public Search function, in the Austin Build + Connect (AB+C) portal: https://abc.austintexas.gov/web/permit/public-search-other

If your business cannot locate its Occupant Load, please email OLC@austintexas.gov. Include the following information: 

Property address 

Suite number 

Contact information for the agent of the property (owner, manager) 

Am I required to obtain a Temporary Occupant Load Calculation to operate?

No. This is a temporary designation to be used only by businesses that choose to operate and do not know their current occupancy ratings. 

If I already have an Occupant Load Card posted at my business, do I need a Temporary Occupant Load Card?

No. Businesses with a current Occupant Load Card can base their partial operating capacity on that rating.

How does the City determine my building capacity? What if I disagree with the findings? 

The City will determine your building capacity utilizing the area, in square feet, of the spaces in the building or suite. With this information, they will apply Section 1004 Occupant Load of the 2015 International Building Code and locally adopted amendments. 

Should you disagree with the findings please email OLC@austintexas.gov. If they cannot resolve your concern you may request the next point of escalation. 

Is there a fee for this service?

No. The City of Austin will provide Temporary Occupant Load Calculations, or formal Temporary Occupant Load Cards, in the form of a printable email, free of charge to any City of Austin businesses that need them. 

How do I obtain a permanent Occupant Load Card? 

Occupant Load Cards are only issued for spaces that are Assembly use, which includes restaurants, bars, movie theaters, museums, libraries, and more as classified by the currently adopted International Building Code and local amendments. Please note that retail is not an Assembly use. 

To obtain a new Occupant Load Card, you may visit the Commercial Plan Review webpage for more information under the heading “Occupant Load Cards”. 


Enforcement and Compliance

The primary focus 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 this Order. 

The latest modeling data from the University of Texas shows COVID-19 infection rates. The city’s public health is dependent on compliance from the Austin community.

What if a complaint is filed against my business?

If a complaint regarding occupancy is filed against your business, the Austin Fire Department may contact the business management or be dispatched to the site.  Violations of the City of Austin Mayor’s orders may be sent to the Austin Code Department for enforcement. 

If you have a current Occupant Load Card or Certificate of Occupancy including the occupant load, this will be used by the Austin Fire Department to make its determination. 

If the Austin Fire Department is not able to determine the Occupant Load on site, the customer will be sent to the Development Services Department to make a determination for issuance of a formal Temporary Occupant Load Card.  

The formal Temporary Occupant Load Card provides confirmation that the occupant load has been verified by the Development Services Department. The Temporary Occupant Load Card must be displayed at the entrance at all times and will be void when the applicable Mayor, County Judge, or Governor’s Order authorizes 90%, or greater, of the total listed occupancy of the business.  


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 50% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

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 50% occupancy limit and the requirements of Section 5 of the City Order relating to a health and safety plan. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed when in a space open to the public or when in an outdoor public space whenever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distance from another person not in the same household.

Amusement Parks

Permitted at 50% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Aquariums Permitted at up to 50% of total listed occupancy.
Barber Shops Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6-feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Bars Prohibited. A bar is defined as an establishment that has 51% or more of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Bingo Halls Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy. Ensure 6-feet of social distance between customers.
Bowling Alley and Similar Interactive Amusements Permitted up to 50% 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 50% capacity.  Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.
Child Care Services Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit.
Churches/Places of Worship Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit.
Collegiate Sports Permitted. Outdoor event limited to 50% of normal operating limits as determined by the owner.
Commercial rafting and tubing services Prohibited, including the rental of rafts and tubes and the transportation of people for the purpose of rafting and tubing.
Cosmetology Salons/Hair Salons Permitted. Work stations must be 6-feet apart, and social distancing, hygiene and face-covering behaviors must be followed.
Dog boarding/Daycare Permitted at 50% capacity unless for veterinarian care (then occupancy limits do not apply). Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.
Driving Schools Permitted up to 50% 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 50% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.
Essential Business

Permitted.  Neither the 50% capacity limit nor the 10-attendee limitation apply. 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 3.1 or later.

Fine Arts Performance Halls Permitted indoors up to 50% of total listed occupancy. No limit outdoors, but must have 6 feet social distance between groups. Groups cannot exceed 10 persons.
Gyms and Exercise Facilities Permitted up to 50% 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 50% occupancy limit.
Manufacturers (Non-CISA) Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy.
Massage Establishments Permitted. Not subject the the 50% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Media Production

Permitted.  Indoors up to 50% of total listed occupancy.  No limit outdoors, but must have 6 feet social distance between groups. Production office staff not on set should comply with the requirements for the office-based employees.

Movie Theaters Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy of any individual theater for any screening.
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 100 attendees or less. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Museums and Libraries Permitted up to 50% total listed occupancy. Local public museums and libraries may operate only if permitted by the local government.
Nail Salons/Shops Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Natural Caverns Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy.
Office-Based Employers Permitted up to 10 individuals or 50% of the total office workforce, whichever is greater, provided individuals maintain appropriate social distancing.

Outdoor businesses facilities/activities:

Permitted.  Must comply with DSHS health protocol requirements. The following facilities/businesses are limited to 50% capacity whether indoors or outdoors, but are not subject to the 10-attendee limitation for outdoor gatherings:

  • Professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events
  • Swimming pools
  • Water parks
  • Museums and libraries
  • Zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities
  • Rodeos and equestrian events
  • Amusement parks
Outdoor Events (more than 10) Prohibited, except as otherwise provided.
Outdoor Motorsports Events Permitted up to 50% of normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner if operated under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.
Outdoor Sports Permitted if there is no contact with between participants and no more than 10 participants play the sport at any time.
Personal Care and Beauty Services Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Pet groomers for everyone, not just veterinary care

Permitted at 50% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Professional Sports Leagues Permitted. Limited to 50% capacity whether indoors or outdoors. The 100-attendee ban does not apply.
Recreational Youth Sports

Permitted. Spectators should maintain at least 6-feet of social distance from individuals not in the spectator's group.  Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit or the 10-person limit. Must comply with DSHS health protocol requirements.

Religious Services Permitted, including those conducted in a church, congregation, or houses of workshop. Neither the 50% capacity limit nor the 10-person limit applies.
Restaurants

Permitted. Indoor dine-in service is limited to 50% capacity. Outdoor dining is not subject to the 10-attendee limitation on outdoor gatherings so long as people are seated at tables in groups of no more than 10 and otherwise comply with the health protocols provided for in the Governor’s Open Texas Checklist found at this link. Outdoor dining areas where people are gathering, standing, and milling around, instead of eating, shall not exceed 10 people.

Retail Services

Permitted at 50% capacity. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.

Rodeo and Equestrian Events Permitted. Spectators are allowed. Indoor venues must limit the number of spectators to not more than 50% of the total listed occupancy of the venue. Outdoor venues must limit the number of spectators to not more than 50% of the normal operating limits of the venue as determined by the facility owner.
School Sports Under the Health Authority Order dated July 14, extracurricular sports shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.
Shopping Malls Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.
Simulcasting Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy. Must ensure patrons are engaging in a least 6 feet of social distancing.
Skating Rinks Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy.
Swimming Pools Permitted up to 50% capacity whether indoors or outdoors. The 100-attendee ban does not apply. Some pools owned and operated by the City of Austin remain closed. Please check website for availability.
Tanning Salons Permitted. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit if able to ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating work stations.
Tubing/Rafting (Commercial) Prohibited, including the rental of rafts and tubes and the transportation of people for the purpose of rafting and tubing.
Valet Parking Services Permitted.
Video Game Facilities Permitted up to 50% of total listed occupancy. Ensure 6 feet of social distance between operating machines.
Waterparks Permitted. Limited to 50% capacity whether indoors or outdoors. The 100-attendee ban 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 other indoor business location, other than place of workshop, limited to 50% of total listed occupancy. Outdoor venue spaces are not limited 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 workshop, are limited to 50% of total limited occupancy.  Outdoor venue spaces are not limited to an occupancy limit and must comply with the DSHS protocols, including face coverings.
Wine Tasting Rooms

Most likely no. Bars and similar establishments are closed for in-person service. Unless a wine-tasting room falls under the dine-in restaurant service under the Governor's Order, it cannot be open for in-person dining or drinking.

An establishment only qualifies as a dine-in restaurant service if the restaurant has less than 51 percent of its gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages and is not required to post the 51 percent sign required by Texas law as determined by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. A bar or wine-tasting room may do take-out, drive-thru, or deliver, subject to the TABC guidance found here.

Youth Camps Permitted. Neither the 50% capacity limit nor the 10-person limit applies. Face coverings, social distancing, and DSHS health protocol requirements must be followed.
Youth Sports Permitted. Spectators should maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from individuals not in the spectator's group. Not subject to the 50% occupancy limit.
Zoos Permitted up to 50% of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner.

Face Coverings

A significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus lack symptoms. Because an infected person can transmit the virus to others before showing any symptoms, the covering of a person’s nose and mouth when outside your home or residence is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is consistent with the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Austin-Travis County Health Authority. 

Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus. All persons over the age of ten must wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief, when:  

  • Entering into or inside of any building open to the public                 
  • Using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares                                        
  • Pumping gas  
  • Outside and six feet of social distancing cannot be consistently maintained between the person and themselves

Parents and Guardians of children under 10 shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.  

Medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be reserved and used only by medical professionals and first responders. Examples of how to make cloth face coverings can be found under “You and Your Family” and from the CDC. 

Face coverings are not required when: 

  •  Riding alone in a personal vehicle
  • Alone in a separate single space
  • In the presence of only other members of their household or residence
  • Eating
  • Wearing one poses a greater physical or mental, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. 

Do I need signage for my business about face coverings?

We are requesting businesses to comply with the face covering Order by posting official Austin Public Health and City of Austin signage at their business. The flyer can be downloaded on our Community Resources page - Business Face Covering Signage. 

Social Distancing Guidance for Workplace and Businesses

  • Suspend nonessential employee travel.
  • Prohibit 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.
  • Require 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.
  • Utilize telecommuting options to minimize person-to-person interaction.
  • Alter 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.
  • Avoid being in groups larger than 10 people.
  • Limit 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.
     
Guidance for Childcare Providers and Schools

Guidance for Parents and Employers Impacted by COVID-19 Childcare Disruptions

PDF flyers providing guidance for parents and employers impacted by COVID-19 childcare disruptions are available in the following languages:

Guidance About Summer Camps

Flyers for Child Care providers to post in their facilities see the Community Resources page.

For COVID-19 related early childhood information and resources in Austin, visit the Success By 6 portal. 

Workforce Solutions Capital Area- For general information or questions about child care subsidies please call (512-597-7191) or email providerservices@wfscapitalarea.com.

If you have any change in status of your child care centers/home immediately update Child Care Regulations (Licensing).

Texas Health and Human Services guidance for child care providers. Questions child care providers have related to COVID-19 can be directed to the Minimum Standards mailbox or DSHS Coronavirus Call Center: 1-877-570-9779.  Care Providers

Resources for Childcare Facilities

If you are in need of supplies, complete this form. While the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force cannot guarantee that we can get you all the needed supplies, the City of Austin and Task Force partners will do all we can to try to help meet these needs.

Read tips for children and masks in English and Spanish. Recommendations for Youth & Summer Camp Programs in English and Spanish.

 
Guidance for Restaurants and Bars

A PDF flyer for guidance for re-opening restaurants and bars is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdu,  Burmese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese on the City of Austin COVID-19 Printed Materials and Required Signage here.

Guidance for Employers

Follow recommendations from the CDC for workplaces which are still in operation: CDC Workplace Guidance.

View the APH return to work guidance flyer (PDF).

Your employees are entitled to time off while they are waiting for their COVID-19 test results, as well as if they test positive (even if they are asymptomatic).

Guidance for Employees

Refrain from reporting to work if you meet any of the following criteria and self-quarantine. 

  • 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Have a suspected case of COVID-19 or are ill with a respiratory illness.

Employees are entitled to time off while waiting for COVID-19 test results, as well as if they test positive (even if they are asymptomatic).

Guidance for the 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

General Business Guidance

A PDF flyer for general business guidance for re-opening is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdu,  Burmese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese on the City of Austin COVID-19 Printed Materials and Required Signage page here.

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.

Environmental Health Services Division (EHSD) of Austin Public Health has closed its lobby to walk-in customers and will accept permit applications only by mail or email.

For those customers who are not able to submit their application by mail or email, EHSD will accept appointments for service at our office located at 1520 Rutherford Lane, Building 1 Suite 205, Austin, TX 78754. Please call 512-978-0300 to schedule an appointment.

Mobile Food Vendor application reviews on Tuesday and Thursday from 7:45 AM to 11:00 AM will now be appointment only. Walk in appointments are no longer available. To schedule an appointment, call 512-978-0300. Mobile Food Vendor inspections will still occur in the parking lot of our building by appointment only.

All questions and concerns can be submitted via email to EHSD.Service@austintexas.gov or by contacting (512) 978-0300.

EHSD services can be submitted via mail or email for processing and payment as follows:

Mail: APH EHSD, PO BOX 142529, Austin, TX 78714 Email: EHSD.Service@austintexas.gov For establishments needing to make a payment, our cashier will contact you for over the phone credit card payments only.

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 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.

Other Resources

Find other PDF resources for businesses, such as Guidance for Adult Care Centers, Guidance for Aging Service Providers, Testing Recommendations, Guidance for Group Homes, and more, on the City of Austin COVID-19 Information for Care Providers page under the Resources tab. 

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.