Austin Public Health will open up vaccine appointments to pre-registrants who are 40 and older starting Monday evening.
APH will release appointments in two batches: an early bird release on Monday morning through 10 a.m. that is only open to those in the 1A, 1B and 1C priority groups as well as educators and childcare providers, and then a regular release from 6-10 p.m. for those groups plus any pre-registrants 40 and older.
If there are additional appointments left over, the department will hold another regular release on Thursday evening from 6-10 p.m., following its normal schedule.
⚠️ Appointment Release Schedule for this week!
Early Bird Release: 4/5 7am-10am: 1A/1B/1C + childcare providers and educators
Regular Release: 4/5 6pm-10pm: 1A/1B/1C + childcare providers and educators, and all individuals 40+
— Austin Public Health (@AusPublicHealth) April 4, 2021
APH will receive 13,000 first doses this week, a slight increase from its regular 12,000-dose allocation.
Although the Texas Department of State Health Services expanded eligibility to all residents 16 and older last week, APH restricted its appointments to those in priority groups during its regular appointment drops last week, citing limited supply.
"We have to remember that there are many, many more people who want the vaccine than we have vaccine to give," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said during a press conference Friday. "Once we have an indication that the line is shortened enough for us to open it to other individuals through Austin Public Health, we will do that."
APH registrants ages 16 to 39 who do not qualify as members of priority groups—because of a chronic medical condition or a job as a teacher, for example—will not be able to make an appointment through the department this week. APH recommends that they look to make an appointment at other local providers that have expanded eligibility in line with the state's guidelines.
Since debuting its online pre-registration system in January, APH has seen its virtual waiting system overwhelmed with hopeful vaccine recipients. Last week, however, the department reported an empty virtual waiting room at points during its Monday and Thursday releases.
UPDATE: There are 4K appointments remaining with no one in the waiting room.
— Austin Public Health (@AusPublicHealth) April 2, 2021
Despite this apparent dip in demand, APH also reports that more than a quarter of a million registrants fall in the priority groups and are still waiting on an appointment. As a result, the department will be doing further outreach to these accounts to fill available slots and incrementally expanding eligibility, including to the 40 and older group.
Still, some Austinites feel APH should expand eligibility further. "People signed up at multiple locations," one Twitter user responded to a recent update from APH. "Are you prepared to keep everyone else waiting while you do outreach to 258k?"
Many of the registrants who are currently eligible to receive a dose through APH may have made an appointment at another provider. To streamline its system, APH now allows users to report if they have already received a vaccine elsewhere and no longer require an appointment through the department. Registrants who fall in this category can log into the APH system here and, under "My Vaccinations," click on the link that says "I already received my 1st and/or 2nd vaccine dose from another provider," which will direct them to complete a form.
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Terry Black’s Barbecue is journeying outside of the smoked meats sphere and into the hospitality sector, announcing plans to open “Friday Mountain,” a resort-style vineyard near Driftwood.
According to a report from the Austin Business Journal, Friday Mountain will be located on 64 acres at 150 Concord Circle, featuring a boutique hotel with 22 rooms, a 14-acre vineyard and a 20,000-square-foot underground wine facility, a spa, event space, all-day café and high-end restaurant. Construction is poised to start in the next month.
The courtyard outside of the event space will echo Hill Country architecture. (Rogers-O'Brien Construction)
Co-owner Mark Black said he expects construction to last about 10 months, hoping for opening early next year, and would hire around 140 employees: 60 full-time and 80 part-time.
The new project has long been in the works for the restaurateurs—including Mark’s twin brother Mike and sister Christina—who come from the same lineage as those behind Lockhart’s Black’s BBQ but separated the business due to a falling out within the family.
Friday Mountain was originally planned to be a wedding venue but issues arising about noise, traffic and environmental concerns led the Dripping Springs City Council to ask for updated plans.
A rendering of the entrance to the planned underground wine cave. (Rogers-O'Brien Construction)
In the new plans, which have since been submitted, Black said he heard the neighborhood's concerns and is focusing on working with the right contractors to avoid issues. Black said he knows not everyone will be on board with the venue but that it will provide a little something for everyone.
To bring the concept to life, Black is partnering with engineers at Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., architects at Lawrence Group, and Rogers-O’Brien Construction Co. Ltd. as the general contractor.
As for the vineyard, Black has partnered with Salt Lick Cellars to have wine aged and ready to drink wine upon opening and will hand off wine making operations to enthusiast Phil Price.
According to a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filing, the project will cost an estimated $20 million to be completed in January 2023.
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the historic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.