AUSTIN, Texas — Several City of Austin departments are slowly reopening more of their services to people, as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. Among them are the Parks Department, the library, Animal Services and Code Enforcement.
The Parks Department says some pools will reopen, and that about 200 lifeguards have been hired. “We're now in a position to make additional amenities available to the public. We' ll be doing that in very small incremental stages," said Parks and Recreation Department director Kimberley McNeeley.
The city plans to train more people to become lifeguards, with a heavy emphasis on online training. The guidelines for the pools are:
And the pools to be opened are:
Meantime, the City of Austin Animal Services will begin to offer in-person animal adoption schedules. You are asked to fill out a form on their website and make an appointment. The City will schedule two appointments per hour for people looking for a new four-legged family member, and only two people can come to the appointment. Temperatures will be taken, and social distancing and other safety measures will be followed during the appointment.
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The Austin Library will begin curbside library service on June 8, but other in-person services, such as story time, are still not planned. The library director says the library does offer some virtual Storytime for children.
Austin deputy city manager told reporters that many city employees are expected to request to work from home as the city reopens, and that many of those requests will likely be granted. In the meantime, the city of Austin is prepared to pivot if the numbers of COVID-19 infections drastically change. “The safety of our employees and the community that we serve is always in our minds and so we will be evaluating our plans every 28 days,” said Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde.
The city’s Code Department office reopens on June 1. Licensing and registration, which covers things like hotel and motel licensing, short term rental registration, and boat dock registration among other things, opens on June15. Hearings will begin in July.