The Austin Chronicle

Headlines / Quote of the Week

May 22, 2020, News

Cases Climb Amid Reopening: Texas reported 1,801 new cases of COVID-19 on Sat., May 16, the largest single-day jump since state officials began tracking cases in early March. Two days later, Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his plans for Phase Two of reopening the state, giving the go-ahead to bars, bowling alleys, aquariums, and other businesses to resume operations (under some restrictions) on Fri., May 22.

Hold My Mask: Five days before that May 22 date, however, local band LC Rocks posted a photo of a May 16 concert showing a dense crowd at Emerald Point Bar & Grill in Northwest Austin. No one in the photo appears to be wearing a mask; see more on the story online.

COVID-19 Impact on Latinos: Austin Public Health released updated COVID-19 data showing Latinos are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic at higher rates than non-Latino Austinites. Specifically, Latinos represent 64% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and more than half of all cases in Austin-Travis County. Former AISD Board Trustee Paul Saldaña and other advocates are calling on the city to create a Latino action coalition/task force in response.

ACL? Longhorn Football? According to the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Public Health officials said large events – particularly ones with over 2,500 attendees like Austin City Limits Music Festival and UT-Austin football games – are unlikely through the end of the year as the COVID-19 crisis continues. The Statesman reported Austin/Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Austin would need to reach Stage 1 in its reopening plan before considering such events; currently, the city is in Stage 3.

Colony Park Carries On: The city's moving forward with its plans to develop the 208-acre Colony Park Sustainable Community near Colony Loop Drive and Loyola Lane. Austin's Economic Development Department has inked an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Catellus Development Corporation for the project, which is expected to include housing, retail and office space, and a transit center. It's the largest redevelopment of city-owned land since Mueller.

High-Speed, High-Fatalities: The Austin Police Department is stepping up its patrol of high-speed, high-traffic roadways. The citywide operation – running through May 31 – is in response to what APD calls a "significant number" of traffic fatalities and serious injury accidents happening while overall traffic is down.

Cybertruck WTF? The interwebs were thick with unconfirmed reports this week that Austin is a finalist (or maybe the super-duper winner?) to host electric vehicle maker Tesla's new assembly plant, what CEO Elon Musk has called a "Cybertruck Gigafactory."

Quote of the Week

“The Court finds the Grim Reaper’s scepter of pandemic disease and death is far more serious than an unsupported fear of voter fraud in this sui generis experience.”

– U.S. District Judge Fred Biery in his Tuesday ruling legalizing Texas vote-by-mail during pandemic. See more inside.

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