UPDATED: Cities of Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto close public facilities to curb spread of coronavirus

Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Rendering courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Rendering courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Rendering courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Local governments announced the week of March 16 an array of preventative measures in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, including temporary closures of city facilities, changes in trash collection services and more.

Pflugerville

Pflugerville announced in a March 17 news release it has restricted public access to Pflugerville City Hall, Pflugerville Justice Center and Pflugerville Development Services to assist with social distancing practices, effective March 18. The facilities will remained closed through March 31, per the release.

  • UPDATE: City of Pflugerville staff are now accepting customer calls between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 512-990-6100. Residents can also utilize the city's online chat service at www.pflugervilletx.gov/virus.

  • UPDATE: Bulk trash pickup has been limited, with waste and recyclables limited to only items within carts, city staff confirmed March 26. Pflugerville's curbside limb and brush chipping has been temporarily suspended due to city staff scaling back operations as a result of COVID-19. Pflugerville's Building Inspections staff have made temporary changes to its service calls, with activities performed outside set to continue. These continued services include reconnection of utility service for gas, electric or water, solar inspections and swimming pool inspections. Suspended inspections include mechanical and HVAC change outs, hot water heaters and residential remodels or additions. Planning and Engineering applications for zoning, subdivision, construction plans and site development are now accepted online.

  • UPDATE: Travis County issued a stay in place order on March 24, effective at 11:59 p.m. The order aims to limit travel, activity and business functions to only essential services and ask all non-essential workers to stay home and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. There have been no confirmed cases in Pflugerville as of March 24, but all entities within Travis County are asked to stay home and practice social distancing—maintaining six feet between you and other people—when outside of one's residence.

  • UPDATE: Pflugerville announced in a March 22 news release it has closed all playscapes, pavilions and sport courts within city parks until further notice to enhance social distancing measures. The city trails system will remain open for use "within the current permitted constraints of social and physical distancing, up to 10 people," per the release.

  • UPDATE: Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales issued a Declaration of Public Health Emergency on March 19 amid the coronavirus pandemic, as announced in a March 19 city news release. The declaration will remain in place for up to seven days, with Pflugerville City Council having the option to extend its timespan, per the release. There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pflugerville, but the declaration allows the city to receive state and federal assistance in its disaster recovery efforts, per the release.

  • UPDATE: Beginning March 23 the city’s solid waste service provider will temporarily limit residential trash and recycling collection. Waste Collection will only pick up items within bins, and will temporarily suspend residential bulk and brush collection services, per a March 19 announcement. Any bags or bundles placed outside of carts will not be collected. These changes in service are anticipated to last through May 1.

  • UPDATE: Pflugerville City Hall and the Utility Billing Lobby is closed. However, customer service is available online. Per the latest Travis County order, utility cutoffs or charged late fees on water, sewer or garbage bills will not be administered through May 1.

  • UPDATE: The Pflugerville Animal Welfare Services is temporarily closed through at least March 31. PAWS will still care for animals in the shelter, and for loose animals found with services needed, city staff ask that residents call 512-990-7387.

  • UPDATE: The Pflugerville Recreation Center is temporarily closed through at least March 31. All activities, meetings and programs at the Pflugerville Recreation Center are canceled for the foreseeable future, and the center's facilities have been closed. Reservations for parks and related facilities are canceled through May 1.

  • UPDATE: The Pflugerville Public Library is temporarily closed through at least March 31. Pflugerville Public Library patrons may hold on to borrowed items through April 13 and reserves will be held through April 20.

  • UPDATE: The Pflugerville Municipal Court is temporarily closed through at least March 31. Municipal Court hearings, cases and services have been suspended indefinitely, per the release.


Pflugerville Community Development Corp. also announced in a March 16 news release to its business partners that its office would be closed to the public until further notice. PCDC personnel will work from home and will continue conducting its work through email, video and conference calls, per the release.

For additional information from the city regarding coronavirus, click here.

Round Rock


The city of Round Rock will temporarily close several public facilities, Mayor Craig Morgan announced March 16.

  • UPDATE: Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell issued a "Stay Home Stay Safe" order for all Williamson County residents, effective at 11:59 p.m. March 24 through 11:59 p.m. on April 13. As part of the order, all non-essential businesses are required to close, leaving hospitals, fire departments, law enforcement and essential businesses—grocery stores, carryout and delivery restaurants along with pharmacies, to name a few—open for operations. As of noon on March 24, there are 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Williamson County, with three in Round Rock.

  • UPDATE: The Round Rock Public Library temporarily closed March 17. The outside book drop remains open at this time.

  • UPDATE: The Allen R. Baca Center for Senior and Community Activities temporarily closed March 18. This closure also includes the suspension of meal service at the Baca Center. According to the release, the meal service providers that operate out of the Baca Center are coordinating options for alternative pickup or delivery for clients.

  • UPDATE: The Clay Madsen Recreation Center temporarily closed March 18.

  • UPDATE: The Round Rock Sports Center and Round Rock Multipurpose Complex temporarily closed March 18.

  • UPDATE: All lobbies of all city facilities temporarily closed to walk-in traffic on March 19. Some business may continue to be conducted in city facilities on a limited, appointment-only basis, according to a March 18 announcement.


“We believe the changes we are taking today strike the difficult balance between maintaining basic operations while lessening the likelihood of spreading the coronavirus,” Morgan said in the release. “As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, I want our citizens to know we take this public health threat seriously and are taking appropriate actions."

Utility disconnects for non-payments are suspended until April 6, according to the announcement, although bills will remain payable. At this time, residents can pay utility bills at the lobby in City Hall; however, residents are encouraged to pay bills online, over the phone or at a city-operated 24-hour deposit box.

“This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and we will remain vigilant as we deal with this challenging issue," Morgan said. "Please continue to do what you can to keep yourself and your family healthy, and we’ll do what we can do as your local government to help responsibly prevent the spread of infection.”

The city is prepared to issue a local disaster declaration, Morgan said, should local effects of the virus unfold.

For additional information from the city regarding coronavirus, click here.

Hutto

The city of Hutto issued a declaration of disaster on March 16 in order to "take additional steps to prepare for, respond and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COV-19) to protect the health and welfare of the citizens of Hutto," as announced in a March 16 news release.

  • UPDATE: The city of Hutto announced March 24 that all park pavilions, sport courts, drinking fountains and public restrooms are closed until further notice, as written in a March 24 Facebook post. Open spaces within the parks, trail systems and fishing at Hutto Lake Park are still open for public use.

  • UPDATE: Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell issued a "Stay Home Stay Safe" order for all Williamson County residents, effective at 11:59 p.m. March 24 through 11:59 p.m. on April 13. As part of the order, all non-essential businesses are required to close, leaving hospitals, fire departments, law enforcement and essential businesses—grocery stores, carryout and delivery restaurants along with pharmacies, to name a few—open for operations. As of noon on March 24, there are 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Williamson County.

  • UPDATE: City Hall is closed indefinitely, per a March 18 announcement. At this time, business with city staff will be conducted by email or phone at 512-759-4033.

  • UPDATE: The Hutto Public Library is closed through the end of March.

  • UPDATE: Hutto City Council will still host its regularly scheduled meeting on March 19, via livestream. Public comments can be submitted to city staff by emailing comments@huttotx.gov.

Kelsey Thompson - Taylor Jackson Buchanan



MOST RECENT

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials: No grace period to follow end of statewide waiver for vehicle title, registration requirements

Officials with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced April 5 there will be no grace period following the end of the temporary waiver of certain vehicle title and registration requirements this month.

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Department of State Health Services launches Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide.

Residents wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 74,000 vaccine first doses coming to Austin-area providers in next week

The total allocation is fewer than the area received last week from the state.

The Centers for Disease Control released new guidance on in-person instruction for K-12 grade schools on March 19. (Courtesy Pexels)
CDC loosens guidelines on social distancing in schools

The updated guidance recommends students maintain 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms while wearing masks.

Rice Stadium Vaccine Site
Texas vaccine rollout: After 90 days, over 2.9 million fully inoculated

That figure represents about 13% of Texans over age 16—roughly one of every seven.

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11. (Courtesy Public Utility Commission of Texas)
Public Utility Commission of Texas names new director of ERCOT accountability

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11.

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Proposed curriculum, funding changes: 14 public education bills filed in the 87th Texas Legislature

Hundreds of bills related to public education have been filed in the 87th Texas Legislature, from curriculum requirement additions to funding formula changes.

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
SURVEY: More than 70% of Texas restaurants still requiring employees to wear masks despite statewide mandate lift

The majority of Texas restaurant owners will choose to continue requiring staff to wear face masks after March 10 when Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide mask mandate lifts, according to the results of an informal survey conducted by the Texas Restaurant Association in early March.

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson in late February, U.S. residents who want to get inoculated against the coronavirus now have three vaccines to choose from—each with varying degrees of efficacy. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
EXPLAINED: See how the 3 COVID-19 vaccines available in the US stack up

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna—both two-shot vaccines—have higher efficacy rates for preventing illness than the single-shot Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine; the vaccine efficacy rates stand at 95%, 94.1% and 66.3%, respectively.

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Virologist discusses COVID-19 response and rollback of state restrictions

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules.

electric grid
ERCOT board developing new emergency response measures, managing financial fallout from winter storm

An emergency meeting of an ERCOT advisory committee made up of independent advisers was convened March 5 after the resignations of several board and of ERCOT CEO Bill Magness. 

Cars wait their turn for a vaccine dose at the Texas Motor Speedway on Feb. 2. The hub was hosted by Denton County Public Health. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Texas doctor discusses first 3 months of vaccine distribution process

Texas is in its 12th week of statewide vaccine distribution, and an expansion of eligibility for vaccination could come later this spring.