Headlines / Quote of the Week

Volunteers with Central Texas Food Bank load groceries for clients during an emergency relief food distribution on Tue., Dec. 29, at Del Valle High School. The agency’s final mass distribution event of the year is today, Dec. 30, at Nelson Field (7105 Berkman) from 9am to noon. For more info, visit www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/food-assistance/get-food-now. (Photo by John Anderson)

Entering 2021 in a "State of Emergency": Last week Austin Public Health announced Austin-Travis County had entered Stage 5 – the highest level of local pandemic restrictions – of APH's COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Late Wednesday, APH announced a 10:30pm-6:30am prohibition on dine-in service (take-out is still OK) from Dec. 31-Jan.3. Read more.

To Go Virtual, or Not to Go Virtual? The Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week to give Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde broadened authority to move the first week of classes after winter break online. Elizalde has said she expects to make her decision by Sun., Jan. 3, before classes are scheduled to begin on Tue., Jan. 5. Read more.

New Year's, ATX-Style: The city's New Year's Eve celebration, Austin's New Year, will be an all-virtual affair in light of COVID-19 restrictions. The special will feature prerecorded performances from eight local bands, recorded at local venues. Visit www.austintexas.gov/any for broadcasting details, and see our New Year's Guide for more virtual happenings to ring in 2021.

Meet Your New Council: On Wed., Jan. 6, 6pm, newly elected City Council members for Districts 2 and 6, as well as the reelected CMs in Districts 4, 7, and 10, will take the oath of office. The new dais will also elect Austin's next mayor pro tem – a title that's caught the eye of a few CMs. Read more.

In light of Stage 5 COVID-19 restrictions, the city has announced revised service schedules and office closures for city facilities and public services. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center is now closed until further notice. The Austin Public Library will be reducing curbside service hours by 25%, and the Austin Animal Center will remain closed (pet adoptions may be done online, with fosters, adopters, and rescues available for curbside pickup). In addition, Travis County Parks have reduced park capacity.

High Speed, High Fatalities: Austin experienced more traffic fatalities in 2020 than in previously tracked years, but the number of crashes resulting in serious injuries was significantly reduced. So what does that mean? According to the Austin Transportation Department, the data indicates that speed was a bigger factor in 2020 traffic crashes.

Remember the ... ROT? Last week President Donald Trump signed into law the Republic of Texas Legation Memorial Act, which authorizes the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C., commemorating the Texas Legation: diplomats who were sent to D.C. between 1836 and 1845 to represent the Republic of Texas. The bill was introduced by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett.

Quote of the Week

Photo by Jana Birchum

"We need them to understand that they are putting public health at risk by being open."

– Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott speaking to Austin Public Health’s biggest concern heading into New Year’s Eve: bars operating as restaurants

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