Below you will find resources and updates from state, county, and local jurisdictions and agencies related to COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. We’ve also included information about prevention, testing, and mitigation. Additional information and resources will be included as they become available.
Throughout this, our office is open and available via phone and email to help answer your questions. You can reach us at 512-463-0696 or District136.Bucy@House.Texas.gov. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us on this or other matters.
John H. Bucy III
HD 136 Food & Wellness Program
Working with our regional city leaders and Hill Country Community Ministries (HCCM), my office is coordinating an initiative to help senior citizens aged 60 and over and people with a disability of any age in House District 136 who are homebound or otherwise have urgent food access needs in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
To ensure this initiative is successful, we need volunteers to help with outreach phone calls to our seniors, food packaging at HCCM, food deliveries to participants, and donations of essential safety equipment. Volunteers interested in delivering food should be under 60 in good health and follow provided procedures and safety guidelines. Donations of latex gloves or hand sanitizer may be dropped off at our District Office (3016 Polar Ln, Suite 108, Cedar Park, TX 78613). You can learn more and sign up to volunteer here.
If you have any questions, please contact my District Director, Sara Groff, at 512-259-1478 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to thank the leaders of our cities for their leadership and hard work during this uncertain time. I want to also thank each of you for considering giving back to our neighbors in their time of need. Your efforts will make a difference in our community!
H-E-B Same Day Grocery Delivery for Seniors
H-E-B and Favor are teaming up to offer same day grocery delivery for Texas seniors. Seniors age 60 and older may place orders with Favor using a curated list of products available from H-E-B. To place an order, call the Senior Support phone line at 1-833-397-0080 from 9 AM to 12 PM daily. Seniors can also place their orders on Favor’s website, or by downloading the Favor app and searching for “H-E-B.”
List of State, County, & Local Resources
Department of State Health Services
Department of Heath & Human Services
Texans can dial 2-1-1 (option 6) for information on COVID-19 and local community resources on health care, utilities, food, housing and more. For questions about SNAP, TANF, Medicaid or CHIP, dial 2-1-1 and select option 2. Wait times are higher than normal. Learn more: hhs.texas.gov/services/health/coronavirus-covid-19
Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
832-986-1919 (available 24/7, toll free)
Round Rock ISD
Austin Community College
City of Austin
City of Cedar Park
Hill Country Community Ministries
HCCM is still open to serve those who need assistance with food: hccm.org
Coronavirus Prevention, Testing, & Care
It is imperative that all residents take precautions to contain the spread of this virus, such as regularly washing your hands thoroughly, staying home if you’re experiencing symptoms or feeling sick, and practicing proper social distancing in public including staying 6 feet away from others. Trips out of home should be limited only to essential business and essential activities. Per the CDC you should consider wearing a cloth face covering in public.
Follow the directives of your local health authorities, city councils, school districts, counties, and other relevant jurisdictions with respect to what is best for your health and safety as well as public health.
Texas is increasing its testing capabilities and upscaling the number of tests conducted by public and private entities. Call 2-1-1 to find a low or no-cost provider in your area.
The Williamson County and Cities Health District is continuing to open more testing sites. These testing locations are free and open to the public, but an online screening is required in order to set an appointment so that residents in the most need can be prioritized. You can learn more and find the screening on the Austin Public Health website.
You can also call 512-972-5560 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 9:00 AM – 1:00PM Saturday to complete the assessment over the phone using the nursing hotline.
In addition to testing offered by WCCHD, private testing sites continue to become available. You can find a list of nearby locations here as well as contact information in order to find out availability and protocols.
If you are a senior, have an underlying health condition, or otherwise are in a high risk group and you develop fever or symptoms, call your doctor. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow your doctor’s instructions and refer to CDC recommendations for how to take care of yourself at home.
You can use the Coronavirus Self-Checker if you believe you are sick or are caring for someone who is or may be sick in order to help make decisions about seeking care. You can also call your doctor for guidance. If you need help finding a doctor or accessing medical care, call 2‑1‑1 and they can direct you to low- or no-cost providers in your area.
Texas is undertaking phased re-openings for non-essential businesses, with Phase III now underway. All newly opened businesses and services are subject to the recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS.
Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, effective Noon on June 26th all bars in the state of Texas are ordered to close, but may conduct delivery and takeout of food and beverages. Starting Monday, June 29th all restaurants must reduce their capacity from 75 percent opened to 50 percent opened. In addition, rafting and tubing businesses have been closed.
All other businesses may continue operating under Phase III standards.
For more information, please visit https://open.texas.gov/.
City and County Updates
The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved a phased re-opening plan for county offices and services, beginning June 1. More details about specific offices are available here.
Williamson County is no longer under a stay at home order, but residents should still take precautions to protect themselves and their families. If you have to leave your home, you should consider wearing a cloth face covering. You should also practice good hygiene such as washing your hands, not touching your face, and practice social distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others before, during, and after any trip.
Williamson County has announced a grant program for small and local businesses with 100 employees or less that are headquartered and located in Williamson County. Both for profit and not for profit businesses are eligible, with certain restrictions. The amount a business can receive will be based on the percentage of closure the business experienced during the COVID-19 Stay Home Stay Safe order.
Applications will be accepted beginning Wed., May 7th at 5:30 PM. Applications will be considered and funded in the order of receipt, until funds are exhausted.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office has suspended jail visitation until further notice. The Juvenile Justice Center has enacted temporary procedures for phone visits with any public admittance being at the invitation of county staff. Meanwhile, the Williamson County Justice Center remains open to fulfill its essential mission; however, it is using mitigation strategies to reduce public gatherings in the building.
The Williamson County District Courts, County Courts at Law, and Justice of the Peace courts are in the process of developing an Operating Plan as directed by the Texas Supreme Court. Pursuant to the direction of the Texas Supreme Court there will be no in-person hearings other than essential hearings that cannot be conducted remotely because doing so is not possible or practicable until the Operating Plan is approved by the Third Administrative Regional Judge and forwarded to the Office of Court Administration. Upon approval of the plan, the public will be notified.
County buildings will reopen by following procedures to ensure the safety of the public and county employees. County buildings will have signage stating that face-coverings are recommended, but not required, to be worn inside county buildings; however, cloth face-coverings will be mandatory when entering a courtroom based upon directives from the Office of Court Administration.
Temperature checks may be required by elected officials for members of the public entering the Williamson County Justice Center, facilities where essential employees are working, and visiting the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
For more information and updates, visit Williamson County’s COVID-19 webpage.
City of Austin
The City of Austin is under a Stay Home, Save Lives order. Face coverings and social distancing are required, while social gatherings of more than 10 people who are not in the same household are prohibited. Certain critical facilities such as government buildings providing essential services, schools or colleges, grocery stores and pharmacies, transit and transit facilities, the airport and airport operations, and hospitals and medical facilities are exempted. All critical infrastructure has been ordered to continue operating using proper precautions and social distancing.
You may run errands such as to the grocery store or to get needed supplies, take care of those who need aid, and engage in outdoor recreational activity. Everyone over the age of ten must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public building, using public transportation or ride shares, pumping gas and while outside when six feet of physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained.
A face covering is not required when eating, riding in a personal vehicle, alone in a separate single space, or in the presence of other members of your residence. Additionally, a face covering is not required when wearing one poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. A face covering does not substitute for the need to maintain physical distancing and the Stay Home, Save Lives Order. The additional requirement is for use of fabric face coverings and not medical-grade masks or N-95 respirators, which are in short supply and should be conserved for healthcare workers and first responders. Scarves or bandannas are easy, household items that can serve as a face covering. Plenty of do-it-yourself plans are also available online including from the CDC and from Austin Public Health.
The Austin Economic Development Department is offering a variety of grant and loan programs for business owners to assist them. You can find more information about those relief programs, including types, qualifications, and how to apply as well as general information for businesses. Similarly, Austin Public Health (APH) has launched a telephone hotline to assist Austin-Travis County restaurants with questions related to COVID-19. The hotline, Helping Austin Restaurants Today (HART), can be reached at 512-978-HART (4278).
Austin Energy will not disconnect utility services. Additional Customer Assistance Programs are available for customers facing temporary and long-term financial difficulties, as well as serious medical problems. Residential and commercial customers can contact the Customer Care Contact Center at 512-494-9400 with any questions.
The Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) Department offers information and referrals to assist impacted community members with immediate housing needs including resources for homeowners and resources for renters, including resources to avoid mortgage foreclosure and assistance for paying rent.
In partnership with Meals on Wheels, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will distribute curbside for seniors and their spouses (10 meals per person). Local school districts are also providing meals for their students.
People with no insurance and no established provider experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath) should call CommUnityCare at 512-978-9015. CommUnityCare will triage people over the phone and send them to the appropriate location.
The City has also created a map of locations to have basic needs met. This map is updated frequently to include locations and operations of hygiene and food services.
For more information and updates, visit The City of Austin COVID-19 webpage.
City of Cedar Park
The City of Cedar Park has begun lifting restrictions and reopening various public buildings and services. For a Cedar Park reopening cheat sheet, click here.
The main lobby areas of city buildings have reopened. The Cedar Park Public Library and Cedar Park Recreation Center are operating at 50 percent capacity. The Library is open on a grab and go basis with residents asked to limit their visits to 30 minutes, and will be also be open Sundays from 1 PM to 6 PM starting June 14. Reservations are required for the Rec Center. All playground equipment and exercise equipment at City of Cedar Park parks is open. In addition, all public, semi-public, and HOA owned and/or operated pools, splash pads, and pavilions within the City of Cedar Park are open at 50 percent capacity. Drinking fountains remain closed.
In partnership with the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce, the city is offering up to $5,000 in grants and $10,000 in loans to qualified businesses in Cedar Park. Learn more about the program, eligibility requirements, and application instructions.
For more information and updates, visit The City of Cedar Park COVID-19 webpage.
City of Leander
The City of Leander has begun lifting restrictions and reopening various public buildings, amenities, and services.
City buildings are open for walk-in service. The Leander Public Library is open with modified hours of 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM Tuesday thru Saturday. All city park playgrounds, courts, green spaces, and trails will be open for general public use, and signage of social distancing guidelines will be posted onsite. The athletic fields at Benbrook Ranch Park and Robin Bledsoe Park are reopened for organized play. The pool and splashpad at Robinson Bledsoe Park are open at a limited capacity.
City facilities will implement additional measures in an effort to follow state and federal recommendations for exposure prevention. Some measures include reduced occupancy limits, contactless transaction options, social distancing guides, promotion of teleconference meetings, and high-touch surface area cleaning and sanitizing.
The City is offering grants between $2,500 and $5,000 as part of their Emergency Business Grant Program to qualified businesses in Leander. Learn more about the program, eligibility requirements, and application instructions here.
For more information and updates, visit The City of Leander COVID-19 webpage.
School Closures & STAAR Testing
Round Rock ISD and Leander ISD have announced that normal school operations are suspended. During this time instructional and extracurricular activities are cancelled and school district facilities will be unavailable.
Classes are scheduled to resume in the fall, with further announcements to come. Please see below for more information specific to Leander and Round Rock ISDs.
The Texas Education Agency has released a Meal Finder app to assist families in finding locations for meal pick-up. More information about pick up times and locations specific to each school district may also be found below.
As part of the response to COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott has waived STAAR testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, the federal Department of Education similarly waived their standardized testing requirements.
Round Rock ISD
Fall classes are scheduled to begin on August 20th, with no current plans to alter school breaks or extend the school year. Students and parents should expect heightened safety protocols as well as an increase in technology to implement a blend of in person and at home learning. Learn more here.
Students in need received chrome books and WiFi hotspots and may keep them for use throughout the summer. Additional instructional videos and materials are available to supplement learning in the summer. Learn more here.
Free curbside breakfast and lunch service will be provided Monday thru Friday for students under 18. Weekend meals will also be available during Friday’s distribution. Children are not required to be present, but be prepared to provide documentation. Meals may be picked up from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the following locations:
- Bluebonnet Elementary, 1010 Chisholm Valley Dr, Round Rock
- Callison Elementary, 1750 Thompson Trail, Round Rock
- C.D. Fulkes Middle School, 300 W Anderson Ave, Round Rock
- Double Creek Townhomes, 2500 Louis Henna Blvd, Round Rock
- Grisham Middle School, 10805 School House Ln, Austin
- Joe Lee Johnson Elementary, 2800 Sauls Dr, Austin
- Montelena Apartments, 2501 Louis Henna Blvd, Round Rock
- Stony Point High School, 1801 Tiger Trail, Round Rock
- Success High School, 500 Gattis School Rd, Round Rock
- Union Hill Elementary, 1511 Gulf Way, Round Rock
Fall classes are expected to begin August 13th, with in-person and blended approaches to school, as well as an option to learn at home with the Virtual Empowered Learning program being considered. More detailed announcements are expected in July. Learn more here.
Please refer to the LISD Support Site, for suggestions on helping your child learn at home and best practices regarding video meetings and distance learning. While Leander ISD campuses are closed, counselors will continue to support the needs of students and families. Please visit LISD’s Support site for both LISD counseling services information as well as health and wellness resources for your family.
Leander ISD will provide free, drive-thru meals for any student, including a hot lunch and breakfast for the next day through July 31st. LISD will not require proof of enrollment to receive food. U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines do require a student to be present to pick up food.
LISD is asking families to use the Nutrislice web or mobile application, when possible, to help them efficiently provide for those in need. Meals will be distributed from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM Monday through Friday at the following locations:
- Reed Elementary School, 1515 Little Elm Trl, Cedar Park
- River Place Elementary School, 6500 Sitio Del Rio Blvd, Austin
- Running Brushy Middle School, 2303 Lakeline Blvd, Cedar Park
Resources for Businesses & Impacted Employment
Resources for Impacted Employment
If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling the Texas Workforce Commission’s Tele-Center at 800-939-663 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time, seven days a week, Sunday through Saturday. Due to high call volume, Texans are encouraged to use the TWC online claim portal to file or check on their claim.
If you are self-employed, a contract worker or previously worked in a position that did not report wages, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. You will not be penalized for a delay due to call or user volume. Claims for individuals affected by COVID-19 are eligible to be backdated to the date you lost your job or your hours were reduced. In addition, the one week waiting period and work search requirements have been waived.
Due to high call volume, TWC is recommending callers follow a staggered call schedule:
- Area Codes Beginning with 9: Mon., Wed., and Fri. from 8:00 AM – Noon
- Area Codes Beginning with 3, 4, 5, 6: Mon., Wed., and Fri. from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
- Area Codes Beginning with 7, 8: Tue., Thur., and Sat. from 8:00 AM – Noon
- Area Codes Beginning with 2: Tue., Thur., and Sat. from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
The Texas Workforce Commission is expecting to experience an increase in call volumes and hold times on our Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use our online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS ), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TWC is seeing lower volume on the online portal between 10:00 PM and 8:00 AM and recommends that Texans consider filing or checking on the status of their claim at that time if they are having issues. TWC also encourages you to sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive any communications online and expediently.
The Texas Workforce Commission is expecting to experience an increase in call volumes and hold times on our Tele-Center phone lines. You are encouraged to use our online claim portal, Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS ), to handle your claim needs quickly. UBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TWC also encourages you to sign up for Electronic Correspondence so you can receive communications online as soon as possible.
The Texas Workforce Commission will investigate why you lost your job and provide you with a decision explaining whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits.
Local Relief Programs for Businesses
Various relief programs are now available in the form of grants and loans from the cities of Austin, Cedar Park, and Leander. You can learn more about each program, eligibility requirements, and application instructions using the links below.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The Small Business Association (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities. If a business has suffered a substantial economic injury and is a specific type of business located in a declared disaster area, that business may be eligible for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. As of Fri., March 20 the SBA has included the entire state of Texas in its Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.
To learn more or apply, go to https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is a federally-guaranteed loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.
The Paycheck Protection Program is available through June 30, 2020. Borrowers are advised to apply as soon as possible due to the cap on the program.
Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating.
To learn more, go to https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/paycheck-protection-program
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: uschamber.com/coronavirus
National Federation of Independent Business: nfib.com/coronavirus-state/texas
Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce: https://cedarparkchamber.org/covid-19-updates
Leander Chamber of Commerce: https://leandercc.org/small-business-covid-19-faq/
Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area: workforcesolutionsrca.com/coronavirus-resources
Drivers Licenses & Vehicle Registration Updates
Extension on ID Expiration Dates
As a precautionary measure the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been granted the authority to extend the expiration of a Texas identification card, driver license, commercial driver license or election identification certificate for the duration of the Governor’s declaration of State of Disaster.
A Texas issued card with an expired date is valid if both of these conditions are met:
1. The expiration date on the driver license or ID card is on or after March 13, 2020
2: The current date is within 60 days of the end of the State of Disaster.
This does not apply to those whose licenses are under suspension, revocation or denial, except that they may use that drivers license for identification purposes.
In an effort to reduce the need for in-person transactions, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) will grant a temporary extension to initial and renewal of vehicle registration, vehicle titling, and renewal of a permanent disabled parking placard. Similarly, there will be a temporary extension for an individual with an expired 30-day temporary permit to obtain another permit or Texas registration.
This temporary waiver is in effect until 60 days after TxDMV notifies the public that normal vehicle registration, vehicle titling, and related services have resumed. The 60-day period will be the same for all counties.
Customers may continue to renew their registration online at www.TxDMV.gov. At this time, TxDMV continues to fill online registration sticker requests and process all other online services.
TxDMV has informed law enforcement agencies and the offices of the county tax assessor-collectors of the temporary waiver. They will provide further updates via social media and at https://www.txdmv.gov/covid-19.
In addition, some TxDMV regional service centers are now open, with new office health and safety procedures in place. Customers will be served by appointment only. Click here to set an appointment.
Assorted Closures of Public Amenities
Texas Capitol Complex
Public access to the Texas State Capitol is currently closed. The Capitol Visitors Center, the Texas State Cemetery, and the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage are closed to the public as well. All gift shops and the Capitol Grill are closed as part of the effort to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 contagion.
Bob Bullock State History Museum
The Bullock Museum and IMAX Theatre are temporarily closed to the public . The museum will reopen as circumstances allow. For online educational tools, interactive tours or galleries, and similar, please visit Texas History Online.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Texas State Parks are open for day use and limited camping, with some variance from park to park. Day pass reservations are required – reserve day passes online or by calling (512) 389-8900. Check the Texas State Parks Alert Map for the status of individual parks and refer to safety guidelines and tips to help plan your visit.
In addition to the operational changes at Texas State Parks, TPWD law enforcement and boat registration offices, including the license and boat registration counter at TPWD’s Austin headquarters, open by appointment only. Social distancing, face coverings, and other public health measures are mandatory for all customers. Texans needing to purchase hunting and fishing licenses, boat and motor owner transfers, and boat registration renewals are encouraged to visit tpwd.texas.gov or call the department at (512) 389-4800.