Austin's city parks and recreational facilities will be closed throughout the July 4 holiday weekend in light of the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Central Texas.
The city on Monday announced on its website that it would be closing park facilities from July 3 to 5 due to an increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
All parks and recreational facilities managed by the city, including golf courses, tennis courts, boat ramps and museums, will be closed. The city will provide credit or refund prepaid park admission passes, according to a Monday news release.
City officials said Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool will also be closed until further notice starting Tuesday in response to recommendations made by Austin Public Health. Chlorinated pool facilities will remain open, according to city officials.
Earlier on Monday, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told the Austin City Council that he was concerned about the upcoming July 4 holiday weekend, adding that he could recommend a new set of coronavirus restrictions for businesses.
Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe on Monday also ordered the closure of all public parks managed by the county. County parks will be closed starting 8 p.m. July 2, and will open 8 a.m. July 7.
Briscoe also penned a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for the state to implement mandatory mask and face-covering rules, in addition to other personal safety and social distancing measures, to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
"Our numbers of confirmed positives and the lag time between the testing and the test results have outstripped both our ability to contact trace and the utility in contact tracing," Biscoe’s letter to Abbott said. "In summary, the rapid increase in cases has outstripped our ability to track, measure, and mitigate the spread of the disease."
Texas health officials on Monday also reported a new record number — 5,913 — for the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.