Tuesday, May 25, 2021

News from the COA Office of Economic Development 05-25-21

SoulyATX Insider

May 25, 2021

COVID-19 Guidance from City & State

Economic Recovery News

The local Health Authority Rules released on May 18, following Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, will be updated to serve as recommendations rather than requirements. This update is due to Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order GA-36, which prohibits governmental entities and public health authorities from requiring face coverings.

View Austin Public Health's COVID-19 Risk Based Guidelines for recommendations to help vaccinated and unvaccinated or partially residents understand the stages of risk and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are partially or unvaccinated are recommended to continue masking in most situations. Also, view Austin Public Health's recommendations for businesses to understand the guidance for employers based on rules adopted from the Health Authority.

- Veronica Briseño, City of Austin Chief Economic Recovery Officer

Economic Development Department Highlights

Austin Fashion Industry Survey Closing Soon!
Austin is poised to become the next fashion hub, and it is because of local designers, manufacturers, stitchers, operators, and retailers. Complete the Austin Fashion survey to inform the creation of resources necessary to support the fashion industry.
Pitch Your Business at the Circular Austin Showcase
The Circular Austin Showcase is a virtual pitch event hosting a diverse group of people from investor and business communities to support and inspire growth in the circular economy. Circular Economy entrepreneurs and business owners will pitch their company to judges for a chance to win $3,000 and participate in one-on-one meetings with select investors to build their funding network. Apply to enter the pitch event by June 4.
Open Calls for Public Art
Deadlines approaching! Work with local communities and different City departments to create public artwork that reflects the diverse cultural landscape of Austin! Budgets range from $30,000 - $500,000 per artwork commission. Apply for Austin Art in Public Place's open calls!
Heritage Preservation Grants Virtual Open Office Hours
Join the Heritage Tourism Division during Virtual Office Hours, where staff will answer questions about existing or potential Heritage Preservation projects. Attend Heritage Tourism Virtual Open Office Hours every second and fourth Tuesday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Austin Art in Public Places
Art in Public Places
Did you know the City of Austin has over 300 pieces in the Art in Public Places collection? The Economic Development Department Cultural Arts Division's Art in Public Places program works with communities throughout Austin to commission many temporary and permanent public artworks each year. Watch a short video on how the Art in Public Places program inspires Austin's creative community.
Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant Updates
The Economic Development Department announces the first phase of awards totaling $2.18 million in relief grants to 109 local businesses impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was provided through the Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant, which is a $5 million program of the Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund established by the Austin City Council via Resolution No. 20200103-012.

Health & Safety

Learn more information about vaccines, emergency rules and orders, and City of Austin updates about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health & Safety Resources
Austin-Travis County Enters Stage 2 for the First Time in the Pandemic
Austin-Travis County is moving to Stage 2 of the Austin Public Health COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Risk-Based Guidelines are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community.
Event Reopening Guide and the COVID-19 Health and Safety Form
The Austin Center for Events (ACE) created new guidelines to enable events to reopen safely. "Bringing Events Back: Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Safety Guide for Venues & Special Events" outlines COVID-19 health and safety recommendations for indoor venues, and new ACE requirements for outdoor special event permits. Event organizers can reference the event reopening guide to review frequently asked questions and register for virtual office hours.
Austin Public Health and Travis County Reach 400,000 Vaccines Administered
Austin Public Health and Travis County have worked tirelessly to administer over 400,000 COVID-19 vaccines to the community. Locate additional vaccine providers near you or text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) for Spanish.
COVID-19 Hotel Facility Update
As of May 18, the Austin & Travis County COVID-19 Hotel Facility is no longer accepting new patients. If you have COVID-19 and need to distance from your household, we encourage you to follow the Center for Disease Control guidelines.

City of Austin Announcements

Resources for Residents
The Austin skyline of tall buildings lit up at night.
City Seeks Residents' Input on 2021-22 City Budget Priorities
The City of Austin is encouraging residents to weigh-in on the next budget. It's important for residents and local families to help the City prioritize services that impact how we live, work, play, shop and more. Watch the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget video (video de presupuesto en Español) to learn more about the City's budget, and take a short budget priority survey to help City leaders make future funding decisions.
How to Build a Society for Friends and Wellness (Not Cars and Things)
The Imagine Austin Speaker Series continues on May 25 from 5 – 6 p.m. with a conversation on how to redefine wealth, reconsider how our consumption impacts human rights both at home and around the globe, and rethink what it means to build a sustainable future.
Vision Zero Identifies Equity Issues in Traffic Crashes
Austin Transportation released a Vision Zero StoryMap highlighting the racial disparities in traffic crashes and injuries in Austin. The Vision Zero program seeks to advance racial equity it transportation safety.
People packing water and supplies into a box
City of Austin Seeking Public Input on the Action Plan
Each year, the City of Austin prepares an Action Plan detailing the amount of federal funding to be allocated to various housing and public service programs. The Action Plan serves as a grant application submitted to the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) to qualify for the grant dollars. Submit your feedback on the Action Plan.
City Plans Phased Implementation Proposition B Ordinances
The City of Austin developed a phased process to implement and enforce the Proposition B ordinances beginning May 11. The plan is focused on a safe and humane approach that helps persons experiencing homelessness comply with the new ordinances. The objectives are to emphasize outreach and education, to prioritize health and safety, and to connect persons to appropriate resources and services. 

Community Resources

Governor Abbott Ends Federal Pandemic-Related Unemployment Benefits
Governor Greg Abbott informed the U.S. Department of Labor that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment compensation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective June 26. This includes the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit is a federally run program that uses federal COVID-19 stimulus funds to provides broadband service subsidies to low-income households for existing or new broadband service. Apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and help spread the word.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) COVID-19 Relief Options: