Restaurant capacity expands to 75% under governor's plan as Austin officials worry about COVID-19 surge
Another part of Phase 3 of Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to reopen Texas goes into effect today, which means restaurants can open up to 75% of their full capacity.
The governor's office is staying the course on its reopening plan, even as both new cases and hospitalizations rise locally and across the state.
A portion of Phase 3 was initiated on June 3 when Abbott first announced the executive order. Meanwhile, Mayor Steve Adler and local health officials spoke out this week as new COVID-19 cases surged, showing triple-digit growth, and the city saw an increase in average daily hospitalizations.
The timeline of Phase 3 is as follows:
Effective June 3:
- All businesses currently operating at 25% capacity can expand their occupancy to 50% with certain exceptions.
- Bars and similar establishments may increase their capacity to 50% as long as patrons are seated.
- Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with less than 1,000 confirmed positive cases may open at 50% capacity.
- Restaurants may expand their maximum table size from 6 to 10 persons.
Effective June 12:
- Restaurants may expand their occupancy levels to 75%.
- Counties with 10 or less active COVID-19 cases may expand their occupancy limits to 75%.
Effective June 19:
- Amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 may open at 50% capacity.
The order included special standards for outdoor gatherings and celebrations, such as the Fourth of July, relegating those regulations to local officials. It also reminded people to wear face coverings, avoid groups greater than 10 people and avoid nursing homes.
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The 40-hour workweek has reigned since around the time of the Great Depression. But a new schedule gaining steam could lead some companies to throw out the practice of having employees clock in five days a week.
Promising results are coming out halfway into a six-month trial of four-day workweeks in the U.K. with 35 out of 41 companies responding to a recent survey saying they were “likely” or “very likely” to continue the reduced week after the pilot ends.
The trial, which began in June, is run by nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. It involves 3,300 workers across 72 companies who are trying out one paid day off per week between Monday and Friday.
During the four-day week, 34% of companies reported that productivity “improved slightly” and 15% say it “improved significantly.”
With the survey indicating that a four-day workweek could have some perks for companies and employees alike, will Austin join in on the trend?
On job searching tools like LinkedIn and Indeed, some jobs based in Central Texas are boasting a four-day work week. And Coltech Global, a recruiting firm based in London with a growing presence in Austin, began the four-day work week about a year ago.
Jessica Sutcliffe, a staffing consultant at Coltech, joined the company to help grow the U.S. market. She says due to the time difference between the U.S. team and the UK one, the company implemented a four-day week.
"I’ve found it very beneficial as it allows time to rest and complete life admin, whilst also enjoying life, travel and be able to come back to work rested/fulfilled outside of work, which ultimately helps focus inside of those core work hours," Sutcliffe said via email.
In an Instagram post, Coltech said that not only are employees feeling the benefits of being more refreshed in the mornings, having reduced illness and a less stressed atmosphere, but it’s also improving their carbon footprint since there’s less time spent traveling to the office and using energy.
Niki Jorgensen, director of service operations at human resources service provider Insperity, noted similar factors driving companies to make the change to a reduced work week.
“The most significant benefit for a company to adopt the four-day workweek is the improvement of employee morale,” Jorgensen told Austonia via email. “Over the past two years, numerous studies have shown employees think a four-day workweek reduces stress and burnout. With reduced stress and burnout comes improved employee engagement.”
And while Austin is already drawing in plenty of workers who are in their early careers, a four-day week may help companies stand out to that bracket’s top talent even more.
“Companies can leverage this to make their company more appealing, especially to younger generations who strongly consider factors outside of compensation when choosing employment,” Jorgensen said.
She went on to offer a few tips for making a smooth transition to a four-day week like setting expectations and staggering coverage so that it’s still possible to see clients five days a week. Also, employers should be flexible. She says some employees may not be able to get 40 hours of work done in a shorter week due to responsibilities like childcare, so employers should consider how they can still accomplish their duties.
Before ditching the 40-hour workweek though, it can help to take a temperature check to see if an extra day off is the right fit for the workplace.
“Do not implement a flexible schedule such as the four-day workweek if business owners and managers cannot commit to the level of trust and flexibility needed to ensure the schedule’s success,” Jorgensen said.
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Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
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Packages and Ways to Stay
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Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
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