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Austin residents who have been participating in protests and other gatherings, or have been unable to socially distance during the pandemic, will be allowed to sign up for a free COVID-19 test starting Friday at the city's drive-thru testing site, according to a notice by Austin Public Health.


People will not have to show symptoms for the test to be performed—a departure from the city's previous guidelines.

The new rule comes at the end of a week of protests that have seen hundreds of people crowded in downtown Austin—some with face coverings, some without—to demonstrate against the police killings of Michael Ramos of Austin and former Houston resident George Floyd in Minneapolis.

As of Thursday, nearly 14,600 people have been assessed for testing through the testing enrollment form since it was launched in early April. Some 8,500 individuals have been scheduled for and/or completed a test.

Sign up with the Public Enrollment Testing Form here.

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