UPDATE: Learn how ongoing boil water advisory has some Austin businesses in 'very difficult' spot

Austin's boil-water advisory has led some local businesses to close temporarily, affecting revenue and employees.

Austin's boil-water advisory has led some local businesses to close temporarily, affecting revenue and employees.

Update Oct. 24, 2:35 p.m.

The city of Austin’s boil water advisory, which may last another "handful of days" or as long as two weeks, presents a “very difficult” situation for local businesses, said Kent Cole, owner of Magnolia Cafe.

Both Magnolia Cafe locations, which are usually open 24 hours, closed Monday morning following Austin Water’s announcement of the advisory.

Cole said that his 170 employees have no work with the two cafe locations closed.

“It’s very difficult for people who have jobs for their place of business to not be open,” he said. “So many have families, they have kids.”

While many Austin restaurants and bars have remained open under the advisory—offering modified menus, limited drink options and bottled water—others have been forced to take more drastic steps because of their particular water needs.

Bouldin Creek Cafe in South Austin remains closed as a result of the advisory.

Other restaurants reopened on Tuesday after closing on Monday, including Hillside Farmacy and Whisler's in East Austin, Holy Roller downtown, Jack Allen’s Kitchen on West Anderson Lane and Merit Coffee in the Seaholm District, after stockpiling boiled water, safe water or bottled water through various sources.

Ciclo and Live Oak, the recently opened restaurant and bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, alerted guests to the local water emergency situation and sourced iced from outside the city, according to a company spokesperson. They are offering guests bottled water until the advisory is lifted.

Some larger chains and national companies have had to halt or modify their operations locally.

Austin Starbucks locations are not serving coffee drinks as a result of the advisory, limiting their offerings to bottled beverages and food items prepared off-site.

Breweries, with hot and cold liquor tanks typically used in the brewing process, are uniquely positioned to boil water in large quantities.

Black Star Coop in North Austin and St. Elmo Brewing Company in South Austin each posted on social media Monday to offer boiled water to area residents and local businesses in need.

“We have enough [for our own operations],” said Roger Corrales, a business team member at Black Star Coop, which is collectively owned and operated. “Let’s have people come in and get some water while they need it.”

Meanwhile, area grocery stores are also dealing with the advisory.

H-E-B, which is based in San Antonio, has dispatched over 275 trucks loaded with more than 4,000 pallets of water to Austin-area stores since Monday morning, according to a company spokesperson.

More deliveries are expected every hour and some stores have up to 40 pallets in stock.

Wheatsville Food Co-op, which operates two Austin locations, has reduced its prepared food options and suspended production in its produce, bakery and meat departments because of the advisory.

Businesses outside of the food service industry may also be affected by the advisory.

Palms Car Wash, which has two locations in North Austin, announced Monday that it will be closed until the city lifts its water restrictions, which took effect Monday morning and include prohibitions on car washing, both personal and commercial; irrigation; washing pavement and other surfaces; adding water to pools or spas; and the operation of ornamental fountains and ponds.

Another industry that is impacted by the boil water advisory includes spas and salons.

Managers at Lacquer Nail Salon, which has two locations in the city of Austin, decided Monday morning to transition all of the salon's services to be soakless for water conservation and safety reasons, owner Carla Hatler said

"The last thing you want is water-borne bacteria entering a cut or abrasion," Hatler wrote in an email.

While the salon locations always offer soakless manicures, in light of the advisory they will now offer soakless pedicures as well. This change will save up to 6,000 gallons of water a month, Hatley said.

"Our customers have been very supportive and have given us great feedback about the change," she wrote.
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


Maj. Vito Errico, left, and Maj. Jason Zuniga are co-directors of Army Futures Command's Software Factory, for which the first cohort of soldiers started in January. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
From a rifle to a keyboard: Army Futures Command opens Software Factory at downtown ACC campus

Twenty-five soldiers started in January as part of the Software Factory's first cohort. Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be at the Rio Grande campus for a ribbon-cutting April 15.

Mobile Loaves & Fishes leaders and Community First Village residents unveiled the planned third and fourth phases of the Austin development for the formerly homeless April 14. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's Community First Village for the formerly homeless announces 127-acre, 1,400-home expansion

Officials with the community, which is intended for residents who have experienced chronic homelessness, said that two new expansion phases are expected to begin development in 2022.

Photo of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County establishes new emergency rental assistance program for 2021

The program will provide $10.7 million in aid to county residents struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent drafts of a Dripping Springs logo and new slogan were presented to Dripping Springs City Council April 13. (Courtesy city of Dripping Springs)
Dripping Springs set for a facelift this summer, with new website, city logo and slogan

The new logo and slogan were developed by a city committee with feedback from city staff and community leaders.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Head shot of Holly Morris-Kuentz
Dripping Springs ISD names Holly Morris-Kuentz lone finalist for superintendent

Morris-Kuentz currently serves as deputy superintendent for Lake Travis ISD.

Photo of hands holding a vaccine vial
After Austin Public Health appointments go unfilled, officials call for new distribution model

On April 12, APH filled 3,400 out of 14,000 available COVID-19 vaccine appointments in a registration window.

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin extends COVID-19 health rules through May 18, updates guidance for vaccinated residents

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.