100% Austin news, info, and entertainment, straight to your inbox at 6 a.m. every morning.
In five minutes, you're fully informed and ready to start another great day in our city.
According to the National Weather Service, Friday temperatures will rise above freezing for the first time in six days, bringing with it less hazardous road conditions.
Despite sunnier skies, several roads continue to be closed due to ice and snow. Road closures include:
- US-77, both ways, from Elbin St to FM-155
- TX-45 Toll Road, both ways, from TX-1-LOOP Mopac Blvd to FM-1626
- TX-183A, both ways, from TX-45 Toll Road to San Gabriel Pkwy
- TX-71, both ways, between Presidential Blvd and TX-130 Toll Road.
- US-183, southbound, from TX-290 Toll Road to TX-71
- US-290, both ways, between US-183 and FM-734 Parmer Lane
Drive Texas has still labeled most Austin roads with icy conditions through 5 p.m. on Friday. Drivers are reminded to exercise caution on all roadways labeled hazardous, especially on ramps, bridges or elevated surfaces where ice may be slow to melt.
As many Austinites clamor to leave their homes for the first time in days, traffic is also likely to occur. Drive Texas has detected traffic on several roadways as of Friday morning, including TX-290, TX-1, TX-183 and some spots downtown.
As Austin begins to melt, city officials said in an Austin Public Works news release on Thursday that their main focus is to clear roads from ice, snow and downed tree limbs.
Since the ice storm began on Sunday, 70 crew members working 24 hours a day have worked on 196 miles of roadway, the news release states.
Friday will be a sunny contrast to previous days and should reach a high of 39 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. It appears that the record-breaking winter storm has finally left for good, and Texans can expect highs in the low 60s by Sunday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits related to the pandemic effective June 26, citing the number of current job openings and concern about potentially fraudulent unemployment claims. The benefits include a $300 weekly supplement.
"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring communities across the state," Abbott said in a statement. "According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment jobs."
TWC listed 837,273 job openings as of Monday afternoon compared to 226,849 unemployment insurance claims filed statewide between March 31 and May 1. An estimated 1 million Texans were unemployed as of March, according to latest estimates released by the state agency.
Some local business owners, including Doc's Backyard Grill owner Charles Milligan, suspect unemployment benefits are deterring Austinites from returning to work. But others agree with economists who say multiple factors are at play, including health concerns and child care availability.
We're seeing lots of posts about how nobody wants to work right now. Just wanted to share our experience.
We received over 60 resumes for a taproom bartender position we posted last week. Every applicant we've set up an interview with has shown up.
People want 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 work.
— Austin Beerworks (@AustinBeerworks) May 11, 2021
Abbott also cited fraudulent unemployment claims. Between March 2020 and April 2021, TWC received 4.48 million unemployment benefit applications, 611,000 or around 14% of which were tagged as suspicious. Most of those tagged were blocked before any benefits were paid out, according to an April 29 press release.
Federal law requires the effective date of such benefits change to be at least 30 days after the U.S. Department of Labor is notified.
- Reopening Austin offices plan for one-way foot traffic, sanitizing ... ›
- Buc-ee's avoids national workers shortage with benefits - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants struggle to hire workers after pandemic year ... ›
Is it just us, or is the current Austin mask situation confusing? Are we supposed to wear a mask or not, and where? And should we wear one anyway, even if not requested or required?
Austin health orders requiring masks expire Tuesday. What then?
Take our three-question quiz, and tell us what you're thinking.