COVID-19 Special Event Updates
COVID-19 Updates: September 21, 2020
Governor Abbot issued Executive Order (GA 30) on September 17, 2020, with an effective date of September 21, 2020. Outlined below are the updates as they relate to the experience sector and live event industry. Read the full Order for other industry impacts.
Business Operational Capacity Impacts
The general rule is that all businesses may operate at 50% of the total listed occupancy of the establishment. Under GA-30, the following businesses may operate at 75% of total listed occupancy:
- in-store, non-CISA retail establishments;
- dine-in restaurants. Only restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, and whose customers eat or drink only while seated, may offer dine-in services.
- non-CISA office buildings;
- non-CISA manufacturers;
- museums and libraries;
- gyms and exercise facilities and classes
An outdoor gathering in excess of 10 people, other than the exceptions listed below, is prohibited unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions not inconsistent with the Governor’s executive order.
The Special Events Office will continue to process special event applications and their accompanying risk mitigation plans in accordance with state and local Orders.
Outdoor Occupancy Exceptions:
Outdoor events of more than 10 people are prohibited with some exceptions. All exceptions require COVID-19 health and safety protocols including face coverings, social distancing and more as outlined in the latest Orders issued by the Mayor and Governor and must comply with Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) health protocols.
The 50% outdoor occupancy limit applies to the following outdoor areas, events, or establishments, including:
- professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events
- swimming pools
- water parks
- museums and libraries
- zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities
- rodeos and equestrian events
- amusements parks
There is no occupancy limit to drive-in concerts, movies, or similar events, under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing, that generally require spectators to remain in their vehicles, and that minimize in-person contact between people who are not in the same household or vehicle
Fine Arts Performance Halls: Fine arts performance halls may operate indoors up to 50% of the total listed occupancy; there is no occupancy limit on fine arts performance halls operating outdoors, however, 6 feet distancing between groups is needed and groups cannot exceed 10 persons. The performance hall’s employees and contractors are not counted towards the 50% occupancy limitation.
Outdoor Dining: Restaurants are limited to 75% total listed occupancy indoors but are not subject to an occupancy limit for outdoor dining (dine-in services only allowed if customers are seated while eating and drinking).
Outdoor Motorsports Events: Permitted up to 50% of normal operating limits as determined by the venue owner. Must follow health protocols including face coverings, social distancing, etc.
Outdoor Sports: Permitted if there is no contact with between participants and no more than 10 participants play the sport at any time. Must comply with DSHS health protocol requirements.
Religious Services: Permitted, including those conducted in a church, congregation, or houses of workshop.
Recreational Youth Sports: Permitted. 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.
Wedding and Wedding Receptions: A wedding reception held at a restaurant should follow the restaurant protocol. Wedding reception services held at other indoor locations are limited to 50% of the facility’s total listed occupancy. A wedding that is held in a house of worship does not have an occupancy limit. A wedding that is held at an inside venue other than a house of worship is limited to 50% of the total listed occupancy of the facility. There are no outdoor occupancy limits for weddings or wedding receptions. Weddings and wedding receptions must follow health protocols (required face coverings, social distancing, etc.).
Youth Camps: Permitted. Face coverings, social distancing, and DSHS health protocol requirements must be followed.
Staff members are not included in determining operating levels, except for manufacturing services and office workers.
Risk Based Guidelines
The City of Austin wants to provide consistent guidance on what is safe and healthy for individuals, businesses, and organizations. Austin Public Health (APH) does not want to only focus on a single number; hospitalizations. APH does monitor new hospital admissions as the primary key indicator for staging, but also looks to additional indicators, including positivity rate, doubling time of new cases, and current ICU and ventilator patients. Multiple indicators are necessary to guide critical reopening decisions.
These factors also help determine how APH applies the Austin Public Health Risk-Based Guidelines, which are recommendations for local personal behavior. Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 3. In Stage 3, everyone should avoid social gatherings of any size and encourage high-risk individuals to avoid travel, dining, and shopping that is non-essential.
Resources and More Information
If you have questions about your event application or future plans, contact email@example.com and we can schedule a remote meeting with you.
- Review the current Stay Home Orders and Health Authority Emergency Rules which outline event prohibitions.
- Review Open Texas State Guidelines
- COVID-19 Recovery Funding Information
- General Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Updates and Dashboards
- Dial 311 or 512-974-2000 to reach a City ambassador ready to answer any question, or assist with any issue you may have regarding City of Austin departments or services.
Micromobility: Micromobility Guidelines People who plan to use micromobility services, like scooters and some bikes, should do so in a safe and ethical manner. Please help keep Austin moving safely.
Get Home Safe: Friendly reminder that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Know how you're getting home before leaving for a night on the town.
Capital Metro: Capital Metro can help you get around. Check out routes, maps and download their app to help you navigate Austin public transit.
Special Event Permit Application Cancellation from Spring 2020
The City received just under 200 Spring Festival Season permit applications. A list of the permit application cancellations is available. Cancellations may be for any reason, including but not limited to the Austin-Travis County Orders to prohibit mass gatherings.