Austin’s Pet Friendliness is on the Rise During Pandemic

Outdoor seating areas at Austin restaurants have long been popular with the residents and their dogs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, those spots are in high demand as one of the few places people trust to leave their homes and bring their pets along. Kate, a hostess at Kerby Lane, has seen many people opting for outdoor seating with and without pets and stated that, “people are sitting inside as well, we just do not allow dogs if you decide to sit indoors.”

Austin is tied for first place for most pet-friendly restaurants in the country, according to a report made by WalletHub. The city ranked second place for the over most pet-friendly city in the country just below Tampa, Florida who ranked number one on the list.

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Others Reflect on Their Thoughts About Their Pets

Valincia Johnson, a hair stylist, decided to become a pet owner near the beginning of the pandemic. Once the pandemic struck and she had to halt her hair services, she found the time she never thought she would have to own a dog. She is also a proud owner of a two-year-old bearded dragon. She had always thought her schedule was too busy to care for a “traditional” pet so she opted for a reptile a few years ago.

“I was given the opportunity to get a dog from my dad,” Johnson said. “Since my shop was closed and I was at home with my daughter helping her with school, I figured it would be a good time to get a dog. My dad’s dog had a litter of puppies right before the pandemic began so I figured why not. I had enough time on my hands and I always wanted a dog, but I could never find a way to fit one into my schedule.”

After adopting her dog during the pandemic, she started spending more days outdoors. There is plenty of green space and watering holes around Austin, so it was easy for her to find places to take her new pup to hike and swim. She and her pup recently visited Yard Bar, a bar and restaurant designed to accommodate dogs. She loved the idea of taking her pup to an outdoor facility where they both could have fun and safely socialize.

Jay Cersosimo has decreased the amount of times he dines at a restaurant, but has increased the amount of times he has requested outdoor seating when he does visit a restaurant. He has noticed unique changes in the amount of love his dog gives since the start of the pandemic.

“Ever since quarantine started, our dog has seemed a little bit more clingy, of course she was already clingy before this… I’m not sure if it is a sub-conscience stress that they can see that we can’t see but I’ve definitely seen a little more love and affection from our little pup.”

The pandemic has brought changes unthought of. Austin restaurants were ahead of the curve and many had few issues accommodating for an outdoor eating experience more safe dining experience. During these times Austin pet owners have seen more love and have spent more quality time with their pets and have enjoyed the comfort of safer dining experiences outdoors.

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