- Mayor Steve Adler issued a stay-at-home order for the City of Austin from March 24 to May 8 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also issued a state-wide stay-home order in April.
- People in Austin are required to stay in their homes aside from essential activities, such as going to the grocery store, pharmacy, essential workplaces, and exercising.
- When leaving their homes, Austin residents over the age of 10 are required to wear face coverings.
- From the safety of my step-dad’s car, I rode around Austin one afternoon in April 2020 to see what Austin looked like during the stay-at-home order.
- Most of Austin’s hot spots, from Sixth Street to South Congress, were nearly empty, and some were boarded up.
- Zilker Park was the only attraction I visited where several people were present, but even there, people seemed to be abiding by social distancing guidelines of staying six feet apart.
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Sixth Street is perhaps Austin’s most popular attraction. Normally flooded with live music and people, this strip of bars is typically closed off to traffic on weekends.
But during the pandemic, this isn’t necessary, since all the bars have been forced to close, and most of the windows — once open to draw people in with sweet sounds of music — are all boarded up.
Source: Austin-American Statesman
Sixth Street, which typically looks like a loose parade of partiers every weekend in the spring, looks like a ghost town during the pandemic.
Some just bring more color to the neighborhood, which is normally vibrant.
I didn’t see one other person on Rainey Street …
… although some restaurants were open for take-out orders.
On the way to South Congress, Lady Bird Lake wasn’t packed to the edges with paddleboards and kayaks as it usually is in the spring.
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife
South Congress was similar. This street is a popular daytime tourist attraction full of odd shops and restaurants.
All the non-essential stores on South Congress are closed to prevent the spread of the virus.
Guero’s, a popular taco bar, has been tweeting about their to-go food and drink offers since they temporarily closed their dining room on March 17.
Jo’s Coffee, an Austin staple that’s home to the famed “I love you so much” mural, is also open for take-out and delivery only.
Source: Jo’s Coffee
One of the strangest things to see on South Congress was the empty parking lot at the 24-hour hotspot Magnolia Cafe. While this location is expected to reopen after the pandemic, the cafe announced the permanent closure of the original location in West Austin on Facebook on April 16. The post mentioned that lost business from the pandemic played a part in their closure.
Source: Magnolia Cafe West/Facebook
Homeslice Pizza is another popular spot on South Congress that usually has a line out the door …
Source: Business Insider
… so much so that there’s another take-out location right next to it called More Home Slice. During the pandemic, Homeslice is only open for take-out and delivery.
Scooters are still available to ride in Austin amid the pandemic, including Bird Scooters. These scooters are normally a popular mode of transportation in Austin, but I didn’t see anyone riding them.
On the north end of Congress, the Texas State Capitol grounds were all-but bare, although an anti-lockdown protest took place there just days later. The event protested the stay-at-home order.
Source: Business Insider
Over in southwest Austin, Zilker Park, where Austin’s annual ACL Festival is held, is closed.
The University of Texas campus in Austin is also closed, and classes are being conducted online.
Source: The University of Texas
Non-essential university stores are also closed, including the Co-op on Guadalupe Street. The Co-op is taking online orders.
Source: University Co-op