UPDATED: City of Bee Cave modifies city operations amid concerns of coronavirus

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox has issued a declaration of disaster for the city of Lakeway. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox has issued a declaration of disaster for the city of Lakeway. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox has issued a declaration of disaster for the city of Lakeway. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated March 16, 5:26 p.m.

Bee Cave officials have modified city operations Monday, March 16, in a move that affects how citizens conduct business through the municipal court, the Planning and Development Department and the Old Bee Cave School House.

The modified policy mandates all business through these departments be conducted by email, telephone or online, according to city information.

"City officials are meeting regularly to discuss the rapidly changing conditions," information from the city states. "The City appreciates your patience as we all work through this unprecedented situation. We encourage everyone to obtain information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from official sources."

For more information on modified operations in Bee Cave, click here.

Updated March 16, 4:43 p.m.

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox has issued a declaration of disaster for the city of Lakeway Monday, March 16, which effectively implements several policies for citizens.

Information from the city states the disaster declaration reduces restaurant seating capacity by one half, prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people, encourages self-quarantining of those in older and at-risk populations and urges business owners to implement the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for business operations.

“I know these are difficult times. We are in uncharted waters and are doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of those in our community,” Cox said. “We are all in this together and the more we can all work together on limiting interactions, the better chances as a community we have to prevent the spread of this virus and also in protecting our older population and those at higher risk of serious illness due to the disease."

The Bee Cave Public Library has also send out a memorandum stating it will close until further notice.

The memo states all book returns will be closed, and patrons should keep all library materials at home until the library reopens. No fines or overdue fees will be charged.

"In the coming days and weeks, we will work to find ways to continue to serve our community within the health and safety guidelines established by our local, regional, state, and federal authorities," the memo states.

Updated March 16

Due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, The city of West Lake Hills announced the cancellation of all city-sponsored events through April 1, including the regular City Council meeting scheduled for March 25.

A press release from City Administrator Travis Askey stated West Lake Hills is operating with limited staff resources at City Hall and will make every effort to conduct business as usual during this time.

According to Askey, at this time residents may continue to pay traffic fines at the municipal building if necessary.

The city will continue to update information regarding any future cancellations or closings at www.westlakehills.org

Posted March 13

Amid news March 13 that University of Texas and Austin ISD classes were temporarily canceled following two presumptive positive test results for coronavirus, officials in western Travis County are urging calm and have so far not canceled most operations.

"As far as locally, we have a team meeting this morning, but we already have largely in place thoughts on how we can work remotely," Rollingwood Mayor Michael Dyson said. "We are going to still have public meetings but keep them to the bare necessities."

Dyson said City Council will look to scale down its agenda for the time being so as not to include items that may draw residents. Departments such as planning and zoning and the board of adjustments will continue operations, and other branches, such as accounting, will be done remotely.

"Also, everyone in the city, top to bottom, has been encouraged to stay home if they’re not feeling well," Dyson said, adding right now Rollingwood residents should go to the city's website at www.rollingwoodtx.gov for the latest local updates, as well as www.traviscountytx.gov.

At Eanes and Lake Travis ISDs, classes have not been canceled, and Marco Alvarado, LTISD director of communications, said in a coincidence there is no class today, but that is not due to concerns regarding coronavirus.

"We had a previously planned teacher/staff inservice day today, so our students have no school today," Alvarado said.

In a March 11 letter to students, staff and parents, LTISD Superintendent Brad Lancaster said district and school officials are monitoring the situation.

"Given recent developments regarding individuals who have chosen to self quarantine, enacted travel restrictions, and cancelled or postponed public events, your concerns are justified," Lancaster said. "However, I want to take this opportunity to assure you that in times of uncertainty, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remain our highest priority."

Claudia McWhorter, EISD director of communications, said though the district temporarily canceled out-of-state travel, most other operations are still maintaining normally, and information for the district is being updated at www.eanesisd.net/coronavirus.

In Leander ISD, officials are creating short- and long-term plans for educating children at home if warranted, LISD officials said at a board of trustees meeting March 12.

In Lakeway, Mayor Sandy Cox said city officials are monitoring the situation on a day-to-day basis and considering all available data.

"We are in continuous communication with Austin and Travis County health officials, our local school district and other area agencies," Cox said. "The health and safety of our residents is of primary concern, and we are making real-time decisions as new information affecting our community presents itself.”

Lakeway City Manager Julie Oakley said the city is taking extra precautions with staff and facilities, including extra cleaning measures, adding informational material at city buildings and making plans to sustain operations if a decision is made to encourage staff to work from home.

Lakeway Communications Director Jarrod Wise said information for Lakeway residents is being updated regularly at www.lakeway-tx.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=1334.

The Bee Cave Public Library and Lake Travis Community Library will both remain open, but staff at the Bee Cave Public Library have suspended programming through the end of March "in an effort to be proactive in keeping our community safe and slowing the possible spread of the coronavirus," according to a release.

A release from the Lake Travis Community Library states "as the situation develops, announcements and communications will be made on our website and through our library newsletter and social media channels."
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


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