Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
×
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Travis County inmates will sew their own masks from donated cloth, surplus uniforms
Travis County Sheriff's Office

"We appreciate the inmates' efforts to stop the spread," Dr. Mark Escott said. (Travis County Sheriff's Office)

Travis County jail inmates will start sewing masks out of donated cloth and surplus black-and-white striped uniforms today in hopes of outfitting all inmates and employees with face coverings, jail officials said Tuesday.

The effort follows a recommendation by city and county health officials over the weekend to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At least three sewing machines were co-opted from job-readiness classes that aren't being taught right now due to social distancing limitations, said Kristen Dark, senior public information officer for the Travis County Sheriff's Office.


Since the recommendation early this week that all Austin residents wear fabric face coverings when out in public, jail leaders have been grappling with how to do that for its roughly 1,650 inmates and nearly 1,000 staffers, expressing concerns about security and supply.

Sheriff's deputies are being allowed to wear masks that they make or buy for themselves, Dark said, but it was trickier to authorize corrections officers to do it if the inmates weren't allowed the same protections.

So far, the county and city have not mandated the use of the masks, but Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, hinted that they might become a requirement if people do not follow current guidelines or the outbreak shows no signs of slowing.

The masks are the latest in a concerted effort by county prosecutors, judges and jail officials to keep the jails clear of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

"We're trying to do our part to follow all of the recommendations as delivered," Dark said. As of Tuesday, no inmates had tested positive for the illness, she said.

Escott praised the idea on Tuesday.

"We appreciate the inmates' efforts to stop the spread," Escott said. "We need everyone in the community to join the fight against this virus. This is a way of coming together."

Dark said that once they're made, the masks will be cleaned and laundered and then distributed according to risk, with priority going to the people who are most likely to come in contact with others.

"I don't know that we've completely landed on where this supply will end up, but what we're trying to do is generate as many masks as we can, between what inmates are making, what people are donating, and what employees are bringing," Dark said.

Popular

Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway