On March 17, as bars and restaurants in Travis County began preparations for the evening’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrants, Austin came knocking: All restaurants and bars in the county were forced to shut down dine-in services, effective through May 1. Gatherings were limited to no more than 10 people in public spaces in an effort to promote social distancing measures.
The decision came one day after Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan announced the temporary closure of some city facilities March 16. And so, like a domino effect, a wave of restrictions and closures crashed within the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
City council meetings, public spaces doubling as hallmarks of civic engagement, began to be held virtually or were restricted to council and staff, with residents able to engage online. Weeklong spring breaks unceremoniously marked the end of the school year as students knew it, limited to online instruction for the duration of the semester.
May 1 marked a new milestone. Restaurants and retail stores in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto were cleared to open to a limited number of in-person diners and shoppers for the first time in more than six weeks.
Salons and barbershops now have the option of reopening services to clientele, effective May 8. Under Gov. Greg Abbott’s Phase 2 reopening proposal, office buildings, nonessential manufacturers and gyms are set to reopen May 18.
“Uncharted.” “A ticking clock.” “Businesses have the potential to never see the light of day again.” These words and phrases are some used by city leaders, business owners and residents alike throughout Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.
But alongside anxiety and questions of the unknown, the outbreak has also highlighted acts of human kindness throughout the community.
Thousands of meals have been served each day to students in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto ISDs to help ensure each child receives a proper meal during school closures. Pflugerville lit its city hall blue in honor of the city’s health care workers. Round Rock and Hutto residents have created hundreds of face masks for residents, first responders and essential workers during the pandemic. Nightly car parades have been held at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.
Below is a timeline of the past seven weeks of coronavirus coverage in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.