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City of Austin announces plans for phased reopening of city services

The City of Austin will begin to reopen some city services next week (File photo: CBS Austin)
The City of Austin will begin to reopen some city services next week (File photo: CBS Austin)
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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:

  • The PARD Swim Team Program is cancelled for 2020
  • Will not initially open splash pads, but will re-evaluate the local conditions regularly to develop protocols for regular cleaning and monitoring of social distancing if the amenity can be safely opened and maintained
  • Will offer an initial modified swimming pool schedule (recommendation attached and will be evaluated weekly) based upon available resources
  • Will open additional swimming pools and/or make schedule revisions dependent upon the ability to train staff while adhering to social distancing guidelines and will use an equity lens as a key decision-making tool
  • Is currently considering protocols and processes that will allow safe practices when offering swim lessons. The possibility of summer swim lessons is still under review. If no verifiably safe protocols for conducting swim lessons can be established and/or staff levels are not sufficient, swim lessons will be canceled

And the pools to be opened are:

  • Big Stacy Pool in June 2
  • Mabel Davis on June 5
  • Govalle on June 1
  • Garrison on June 6
  • Northwest on June 5
  • Shipe on June 1
  • Walnut Creek on June 5

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.

RELATED: City of Austin extends 'stay home, work safe' order until June 15

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.

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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.

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