Good morning Austin.
The day is coming soon when we will have enough vaccine for everyone in our community, but that day is not today. Another 58,340 doses are on the way to our community this week, less than last week, and according to Austin Public Health there are 200,000 people eligible for a vaccine and waiting in the public health organization's system.
Because of that backlog, APH will not yet be opening up appointments to people aged 50-64, although the public health organization said that update will be on the way "in the coming days." As of Monday, those individuals in Phase 1C of the state's rollout are eligible, which means they can sign up with private providers such as CVS and H-E-B.
The bottom line is that supply for the vaccine still is just not enough to meet demand. We're getting closer every week though—the day we can safely go to the movies, enjoy a live concert and hug our friends and family members is coming soon.
—Jack Flagler, Editor, Central Austin and Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs
Mask requirements still in place in Austin
Reporter Nicholas Cicale spoke to Chris Cunningham, co-owner of Nervous Charlie's bagel shop on Wednesday, the first day that mask mandates were lifted in the rest of the state.
Those requirements are still in place in Austin—a court decision extended them for at least another two weeks—but Cunningham said regardless of what happened in court, there was no question in his mind about what he would do, a sentiment shared among many Austin restaurant owners.
"Until essential workers in the service industry get into the vaccination phase, I don’t think we’d consider opening up our dining room. We need to keep our staff safe," he said.
Other news to know:
H-E-B filed project plans with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation March 5 to build a new store at the corner of Nutty Brown Road and West Hwy. 290 in Southwest Austin. The property is the current location of the Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre, which owner Mike Farr plans to move to Round Rock.
Austin FC will open its inaugural season April 17 at Los Angeles FC and play its first-ever home match at Q2 Stadium June 19 against the San Jose Earthquakes. The team announced those two matches along with an April 24 road date with the Colorado Rapids last week—details on the full schedule are still yet to come.
Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) and Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) filed the Mike Ramos Act in both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives last week. The new set of laws named for the man shot and killed in April 2020 by Austin Police would include new state oversight measures and new regulations around how body camera footage is released.
A $4.9 billion project to revamp I-35 through Central Austin is once again open for public feedback. The Texas Department of Transportation received more than 2,300 comments when it last solicited feedback this winter. Many local residents, politicians and groups are asking TxDOT to take additional factors under consideration, including climate concerns, the highway's destructive legacy in the community and the physical barrier it presents to communities.
Austin weekly roundup: Masks still required as vaccine distribution slowly marches along
Vaccines are distributed at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. Travis County providers are set to receive 58,340 doses the week of March 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)