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
City of Austin and Travis County Issue New Safety Orders
The City of Austin and Travis County are requiring all commercial entities providing goods or services directly to the public to develop and implement a health and safety policy or plan related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety policy must require that all employees and guests wear face coverings while on the commercial property, with certain exceptions. Please read the City of Austin Order and read the Travis County Order for additional information.
Austin-Travis County is now in Stage 4 emergency status based on Austin Public Health’s Risk-Based Guidelines. Higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than two people. They should also avoid all non-essential travel and avoid dining and shopping unless it is essential. Lower-risk individuals are advised to avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than 10 people, non-essential travel, and to avoid dining and shopping except with expanded essential businesses.
Travis County Small Business Grant Accepting Pre-Applications
Travis County partnered with Business and Community Lenders (BCL) to launch the Travis County (TCTX) Thrive Small Business Program. This program offers grants up to $40,000 to qualifying businesses that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applicants must complete a pre-application to determine if they are eligible for the program. If eligible, applicants will be invited to submit a full application. If awarded, the applicants who participate in TCTX Thrive Small Business Program will work with BCL’s small business coaches to create a Business Continuity Plan and will receive no-cost business coaching throughout the program period.
Justices of the Peace Announce Additional COVID-19 Measures
Due to health and safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice of the Peace courts will be operating with limited operations until further notice. Please visit each court’s page for additional information.
- All non-essential court proceedings will be rescheduled until after July 22, 2020 All evictions (commercial and residential) are rescheduled until July 22, 2020 No writs of possession shall be issued until July 29, 2020 Class C ticket appearances are rescheduled No warrants for failing to appear to court for traffic tickets will be issued.
- State of Texas Updates
Gov. Abbott Closes Bars; Reduces Restaurant Capacity
Governor Abbott issued a new Executive Order on June 26, 2020. Key items in the Executive Order include:
All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.
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
Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance Program Reopened
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profits. These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue. EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.
For additional information, please visit the SBA disaster assistance website at SBA.gov/Disaster.
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.