Coronavirus: How New York-Style Pause Would Impact Austin

Tony Cantu

This article originally appeared on the Austin Patch

AUSTIN, TX — As area health officials grapple with the reach of new coronvirus, analysts this week took a look at what the regional impact would be if the metro area were to implement the NY PAUSE order strategy compelling workers to stay home.

The upshot: an estimated 56 percent of employees in the Austin-Round Rock area would be forced to stay or work from home while essential business and service personnel would make up the remaining 44 percent, analysts at COMMERCIALCafé found.

The PAUSE measure implented in New York (Policy that Assures Uniform Safety for Everyone) was implemented on Sunday in response to the growing rate of new coronavirus cases in the state. Now known as COVID-19, the respiratory ailment is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have triggered outbreaks in the past.

Don't miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in the Austin area. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily

To be sure, the rate of illness in New York is exponentially greater than it is in Texas. At last check, some 366 people had succumbed to the illness in New York, compared to a dozen COVID-19 Texas deaths among some 974 confirmed positive cases.

COMMERCIALCafé researchers developed a hypothetical simulation to gauge the effect a PAUSE-like order would have on metropolitan statistical areas across the U.S. Out of the 560,370 employees estimated as non-essential workforce in the Austin-Round Rock area, Office and Administrative Support occupations make up the largest category, followed by Business and Financial Operations and Computer and Mathematical occupations, researchers found.

Graphic courtesy of COMMERCIALCafé.

To achieve the scenarios, researchers analyzed 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data and occupations totals for U.S. metros with at least 300,000 employees. For the selection of occupations to include under the "exempt essentials" category, COMMERCIALCafé researchers matched the Bureau of Labor Statstics data, with businesses and services considered essential and exempt included in the reckoning per New York's revised Executive Order 202.6 that took effect at 8 p.m. on March 22, analysts said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the entire state will go on "PAUSE" in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 and preserve and protectan overwhelmed healthcare system. Broadly, the order, which could remain in effect until at least April 19, forces all "non-essential" workers to stay at home, and creates new rules of social conduct to which New Yorkers must adhere.

In a united front, officials from Travis and Williamson counties on xxx implemented a "shelter-in-place" order for the region, underscoring the need for people to stay indoors unless on essential errands — grocery shopping, medicines retrieval and the like. Residents are still able to get outside for walks or exercise as long as they ahdere to a six-foot buffer among themselves to mitigate the potential spread of illness caused by respiratory droplets transmissions from those already afllicted.

Click the highlighted text to see the full COMMERCIALCafé report.