Residents asked to stay off Butler Hike and Bike Trail to slow spread of coronavirus

Residents are asked to avoid using the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail until it is once again safe to do so. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents are asked to avoid using the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail until it is once again safe to do so. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Residents are asked to avoid using the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail until it is once again safe to do so. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

The stay-at-home orders put in place in Austin and Travis County on March 25 do not prevent local residents from going outside for walks, hikes, bike rides or runs provided they keep a safe, 6-foot distance from other individuals.

The Ann-and-Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is usually the focal point of those outdoor activities in the Austin area, but the group responsible for maintaining the trail is asking residents to avoid the trail until it is safe to return.

In a statement released March 24 just after the city and county announced their stay-at-home measures, The Trail Foundation said there are narrow parts of the ten-mile trail that make it impossible to keep a 6-foot distance and asked residents to stay home.

“We know you love the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail and we do, too. But given the City of Austin’s shelter-in-place order updated today, The Trail Foundation recommends that you stay in and exercise as close to your own home as possible.”

The Trail Foundation CEO Heidi Anderson said in the release usage of the trail has not decreased in early March as the city and county put increasingly restrictive public health measures into place in an attempt to minimize contact between residents and slow the spread of the coronavirus locally.

The Trail Foundation said in the release it does not have the authority to prevent trail usage.

The new stay-at-home orders from the city and the county prevent social gatherings of any kind, allowing only businesses deemed essential to stay open and asking residents to stay in their homes as much as possible.

Local authorities said they do have the ability to enforce the measures, which could include a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail. During her announcement of the order on March 24, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said penalties would be reserved only for “egregious” violations.

More information on the stay-at-home orders is available here.


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