Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox took to Facebook on April 7 to update the community on the latest coronavirus news and response efforts by city officials.
Cox reiterated the city’s website remains a strong resource for residents during the pandemic, with information regarding positive COVID-19 cases, updates from Travis County and help for local business owners.
Gov Greg. Abbott mandated the closure of all state parks and historic sites the morning of April 7; however, Cox noted later in the Facebook livestream this order does not include Lakeway’s greenbelts.
“However, I will be really clear,” Cox said. “If it becomes an enforcement nightmare and we have lots of congregating, we will close.”
She advised against large groups of individuals, picnics or any congregating, saying she hopes to keep this resource available for the community.
Two city ordinances were updated regarding the parking of recreational vehicles on private lots within city limits. According to Cox, the city has added a provision to allow RVs to be parked in a resident’s driveway, which was previously prohibited.
“A lot of our first responders are using the RVs as a place for quarantine,” Cox said, adding that this ordinance will be put aside for the foreseeable future.
This provision will not apply to waterborne vehicles or all-terrain vehicles or any kind.
Lakeway residents may have noticed an increased number of signs hung outside local businesses advertising takeout and delivery services during this time.
“We have decided to allow this to occur,” Cox said. “A lot of the businesses that are trying to get food to us have had to change their business models, and there just isn’t a way for them to get that message out.”
In speaking with local business owners, some have reported revenue loss of between 60% and 70%, according to Cox.
Cox also had some advice for citizens that may witness a household member test positive for the coronavirus.
“There’s a likelihood with the spread of this disease that someone that is watching this broadcast right now, you’re going to have a family member that’s going to come down with this,” Cox said, again directing residents to the city’s website.
She suggested increased isolation, only employing one caretaker within the home, utilizing gloves, keeping up with surface cleaning, and potentially double-bagging trash and laundry bags.
Over the weekend the city received its first notice that a Lakeway resident had tested positive for COVID-19. Cox stated at this time there are 17 positive cases in the Greater Lakeway area, which encompasses the 78734 and 78738 ZIP codes.
“This is real,” Cox said. “It’s not like it may come to Lakeway. It’s here.”
She continued to urge individuals to practice social distancing and not to congregate in an effort to flatten the curve.
One resident asked Cox whether Lakeway had formed a COVID-19 task force, to which she responded a task force is already underway at the city, county, state and federal levels.
“People ask me, ‘So what are we doing about bringing on intensive care unit beds and ventilators?' This is a Travis County response; it’s not about one hospital,” she said.
According to Cox, there are plans to be released from Travis County officials later this week regarding hospital capacities.
The city will conduct another broadcast on April 14 that will feature a representative from Baylor Scott & White.
Protecting the city’s first responders is of utmost importance, Cox stated, adding personal protective equipment has been made available, including N95 masks.
Cox also noted she just finished a briefing with Abbott prior to starting the broadcast, adding the city has a direct link to the governor’s office, emergency management personnel and Travis County officials. Lakeway has also put together a 418 mutual aid agreement with the county, potentially housing individuals at the city’s justice center during the pandemic.
“This is not a long-term solution,” Cox said. “We think we can help, and so we’ll see if we can come to an agreement.”
Cox also welcomed Laura Mitchell, the president of the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce, to speak on the subject of local businesses and the economy.
“The chamber has been a resource for local businesses for over 30 years and will continue to be that way,” Mitchell said.
The chamber has created a COVID-19 resource page to help residents navigate the recently passed federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Recovery Act; the Paycheck Protection Program application; and more.
A new Facebook group called Support Local LT has also been formed by the chamber, allowing local businesses to advertise current specials, inform the community of any business changes and seek assistance if needed.
“We are an incredibly resilient community,” Mitchell said. “We’ve come through tough times before, and we will get through this again together.”
A new organization has also been created within the city of Lakeway. Lake Travis One stands as a resource guide for residents focused on how neighbors can take care of each other. Involving local area pastors, the group hopes to provide food donations and other forms of assistance to residents in need during the pandemic.
The nonprofit organization Lake Travis Ministries is continuing to provide groceries for residents living under the shadow of food insecurity.
While there have been no announcements from Lake Travis ISD regarding a potential graduation ceremony, Cox had some words of encouragement for Lakeway’s youth.
“This too shall pass,” Cox said. “I know there’s fear, and I know there’s stress.”
Teenagers are wondering whether they will be attending college or obtaining a job, and according to Cox, these questions cannot be answered at this time.
“What I will say is that this community has always risen to the challenge; this community has always gotten through this together,” Cox said. “Find the positive in every day.”