Austin mayor considering extending shutdown of parks and trails to further social distancing measures

Many of the city's outdoor amenities, such as Barton Springs Pool, have already been shut down. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Many of the city's outdoor amenities, such as Barton Springs Pool, have already been shut down. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Many of the city's outdoor amenities, such as Barton Springs Pool, have already been shut down. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said April 8 that he has growing concerns about residents gathering at the city’s parks and trails amid strict social distancing measures and said he is considering shutting them down to the public.

The city government already announced Austin’s parks and trails will be closed April 9-12 to mitigate potential gatherings over the holiday weekend, typically a busy time for the city’s outdoor amenities.


At the April 8 press conference, Adler discussed new modeling from The University of Texas that showed positive results from social distancing measures. However, the mayor said he was still concerned about how many people were using the city’s parks and trails and said he is considering shutting down the trails beyond the holiday weekend.

Adler said maintaining social distancing is crucial to keeping the health care system from being overwhelmed. The city's stay-at-home order is enforceable through penalties of up $1,000 and six months in jail. However, Adler said the city will not be able to enforce its way into the compliance it needs, and Austinites need to enter into an agreement among themselves to maintain social distancing and follow the stay-at-home orders.

Editor's Note: This article's headline has been updated.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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