Businesses such as retail and restaurants were permitted to open May 1 to accommodate 25% capacity, according to an order issued by Gov Greg Abbott. Assuming the state does not see a spike in coronavirus cases, capacity could increase to 50% by May 18.
The guidelines have left business owners wondering what 25% capacity looks like for their storefront or dining room.
Lake Travis Fire Rescue has developed an online platform to aid local business owners. The team launched a two-step calculating tool to determine the occupancy rate based on square footage and the function of the space.
The tool is made available on LTFR’s website as well as the city of Lakeway’s official website.
Mayor Sandy Cox introduced the resource to the community through a Facebook broadcast April 30.
“If you’re a business person, you’re probably wondering, 'Well how in the world do I figure out what 25% is for my business?'” Cox said. “Lake Travis Fire Rescue has done you a favor.”
Cox encouraged business owners to reach out to the city’s building department or LTFR with any capacity-related questions.
“That service is out there for you, and [LTFR] brought that up overnight to help us out,” Cox said.
According to LTFR, the tool is for educational purposes only, and business owners should contact the local building official or fire marshall to determine an official occupant load. Though the results provided by LTFR are not official, they may help business owners as they transition to open their dining rooms.
A number of businesses in the Lake Travis-Westlake area officially opened May 1 with more planning to open within the next two weeks.