Some people in Austin, Texas have been seemingly ignoring social distancing requirements after the coronavirus outbreak and still showing up near Barton Springs and Zilker Park in large numbers, according to photos and videos shared by concerned residents. Here’s a look at what’s been happening.
Bettie Cross of CBS Austin shared this video on Twitter on Thursday of people at Barton Creek, noting that the crowd wasn’t as big as the day before. You can still see groups of people who don’t appear to be adhering to social distancing requirements.
On Tuesday afternoon, March 24, areas near Barton Springs, including Barking Springs, were packed, KVUE reported. Austin’s shelter-in-place was going into effect on March 24 at 11:59 p.m., but people seemed to want to gather in large crowds right beforehand. This photo shared by Cord Shiflet on Tuesday showed the large crowd gathering at Barton Springs.
Lockdown. Social distancing. Working well I see. While you all are freaking out about the beaches in Florida….how about you freak out about our own backyard? This is Zilker Park about an hour ago. Not. Cool.
The City of Austin’s shelter-in-place orders begin tonight. Stay the hell at home. The Trail will be here for us all when we get through this difficult season. Protect your parents. Protect my parents. Don’t be a selfish asshole.
**Late edit here as I’m tired of answering this question and these accusations. One of my best friends took the photo while on a bike ride and texted it to me….I’m not tagging him now to save him the vitorol I received….it was taken this Tuesday (3/24/20) between 2-3PM at “Barking Springs”….the dog park area just below Barton Springs. If you look in the background you’ll see that beautiful VACANT green hill….that’s Barton Springs, which is CLOSED per our Mayor. I cropped the picture from the original so it was easier to see all the people in the background and yes, my friend was more than 6′ away from everyone. If anyone else wants to believe this is fake…..have at it. Go take your own picture and compare the tree blooms, the dead trees in the background and stuff and come to your own conclusions. It’s real. We have a lot of scofflaws in our city…**
Mayor Steve Adler told KVUE about the photo: “The health of this community, the welfare of this community, is dependent on there not being large gatherings of people in the parks. If that’s happening, it has to stop.”
According to social media and local media reports, people were still gathering even after the shelter-in-place started.
It’s not just the Barton Springs area, but also Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park, according to residents.
Here’s a look at why social distancing is so important. Rep. Vikki Goodwin of Texas wrote: “A study by UT professor Lauren Ancel Meyers teaming up with Dell Medical School shows why social distancing is so important. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and Mayor Adler hope the graphs and information will help convince central Texas residents to stay home. Concerns were raised after photos were taken of crowds at Barton Springs/Zilker Park and the hike and bike trail as recently as yesterday. Even if we reduce our socializing by 50%, we still will overwhelm our hospitals, according to the modeling that’s been done.”
Local police have said they’ve gotten a lot of calls complaining about crowds near Zilker Park and Barton Creek, CBS Austin reported.
So far there are 160 confirmed cases in Travis County and one death.