Open for business

By Will Laurance on 05/25/2020

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Austin, Texas is open for business. Bars and restaurants have inside occupants. The parks are filling up fast. Gyms and other establishments are allowed to open with proper rules. https://www.texas.gov/covid19/ documents the rules for all businesses. At the end of May, overnight camps are planning to re-open.

Most rules outlined in the checklists of rules per business are good. However no one is enforcing them. I have driven past bars that were packed, restaurants at least 50% full with patrons w/ no masks and the servers with masks, and parks crowded with families and young people.

Today we did part of the Butler trails around the river. The city had modified the trail to be one-way and advised following social distancing rules. Much like the guidelines for businesses no one is enforcing the guidelines on the trail. There were plenty of people going the "wrong" way, ~0 masks in sight (there were a few), and not enough distancing. But we continued and walked about three miles of the loop returning on the pedestrian bridge next to Lamar Boulevard. For me, it was tolerable and the benefit to my mental health was worth the increased risk I felt to be present.

We drove to a sandwich shop in Hyde Park; A neighborhood in central Austin. On the left was a corner property with a few restaurants including the sandwich shop. Families eating outside next to the "Text for takeout" sign. The same one used to potentially have contactless delivery a few weeks ago. We soon found out the texting wasn't working anymore. Eventually the order was marked as ready and I went inside to grab my order. With mask and gloves I feel protected. And it's not my job to worry about anyone else eating on the porch. But it's hard not to.

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