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What's new this week?

As of March 24th, the city of Austin is officially under shelter-in-place orders, effective until at least April 13th, in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 locally…

But what exactly does “shelter in place” mean?

Essentially, this is a stay at home order, meaning those living in Travis County or Williamson County are required to stay in their home or current place of residence (hotels, motels and rental units) until the order is lifted.


This order is a stricter form of social distancing in order to help people stay unexposed and prevent others from being exposed. It entails that everyone stays home, only going out for essential services, stay six feet or more away from others and don’t gather in groups.


Funny you should ask – we have a list:

  • Public or private gathering of any size with people outside of your residence
  • All travel, including on-foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, automobile or public transit must be for an essential activity only
  • Go to work, unless you are providing essential services or work for an essential business. Those who work for non-essential businesses can continue to work from home if possible
  • Visit friends and family in the hospital, nursing home or other nursing facility 


The essentials.

  • Go to the pharmacy, medical appointments, or seek medical care for yourself, a family member, a friend or a pet
    • Elective surgical, dental and medical procedures are temporarily prohibited
  • Go to the grocery, convenience, pet or hardware store for necessary supplies for staying home
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for a family member, the elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or pets in another household
  • Go to work, provided you work for an essential business or provide an essential service
  • Go outside for physical activity as long as you are six feet away from others.
    • At HCI, we highly recommend that you stay active and get fresh air, but it is important to note the restrictions on outdoor activities. As it gets warmer, the temptation to visit Barton Springs, Deep Eddy Pool or the many hike and bike trails rises, but locations like these have either closed or are urging people to stay away for the time being to limit large groups of people since it is hard to enforce social distancing in these areas. So, what can we do? Go for a jog, bike ride or walk your pet, but you must stay at least six feet away from others outside your household when you do so. If you have a yard or patio, utilize that space for outdoor time without having to worry about the rules of social distancing, and if you’re wondering how else you can get a workout in, see our virtual STUDIO and AIM classes and workouts!


Most businesses have been told to cease on-site operations and either close or work from home if possible. The expectations to these rules are essential businesses (the ones you are still able to leave home to go to if needed.). These essential businesses include:

  • Hospitals, pharmacies, veterinary care, dentists, mental health providers and clinics
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience/drug stores, liquor stores, pet supply stores, food banks and carry out or delivery restaurants
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter and social services to the needy
  • Gas stations, auto shops and dealerships, public transportation, Uber/Lyft, and other transportation services necessary to the performance of essential activities
  • Hardware and supply stores, plumbers, electricians, and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses
  • Infrastructures such as electricity, gas, water, wastewater and other public works
  • Home-based care and services and shelters for seniors, adults, children and animals
  • Banks, IT, mail/delivery, legal, accounting, insurance and real estate services
  • Funeral-related services, hotels/motels and news media

For more information and a full list of essential businesses and activities, see the public health order here.


These new regulations may be a bit of an inconvenience, but it is a necessity for the greater good (not to mention a violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 180 days in jail…).

So unfortunately, for the next few weeks, you can’t go over to your friend’s house or having a small get together to binge Netflix, and you can’t meet up at your favorite local restaurant. But don’t worry! Most businesses are adjusting their offerings for this specific mandate. Local eateries are adjusting their set up to offer to-go and delivery (check out which places are still serving and Netflix Party lets you enjoy a night in with your friends together…but separate!

If we all take responsibility for ourselves and do our part now, we can avoid stricter regulations and return to our daily routines sooner (which we’re all looking forward to!). So, stay home, wash your hands, and we hope to see you back a Hill Country Indoor soon!

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