Orders Continue to Require Social Distancing and Other Safety Measures to Control Spread of COVID-19
As of June 15, Austin-Travis County is moving out of Stage 3 and into Stage 4 based on Austin Public Health’s (APH) Risk-Based Guidelines. On June 14, Austin-Travis County surpassed 20 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day, based a on a 7-day moving average. The current average is 20.6. Additionally, other metrics , such as patients in ICU, ventilators usage, and 7-day moving average of cases is trending upward.
In Stage 4, higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than two people. They should also avoid all non-essential travel and avoid dining and shopping unless it’s essential.
Lower-risk individuals are advised to avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than 10 people, non-essential travel, and to avoid dining and shopping except with expanded essential businesses.
The stage may shift between 3 and 4 depending on patterns. APH recommends individuals follow the advice on the Risk-Based Guidelines depending on the stage we’re experiencing. The 7-day average for admissions is updated daily on APH’s Key Indicators dashboard.
Over the past few days, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in Austin-Travis County has also jumped into the triple digits, with 147 new cases recorded on June 14.
“Our numbers in Austin are geometrically increasing. At the rate we are going now, more people will get sick and will die than if we wore masks and stayed 6 feet apart,” Mayor Steve Adler said. “We each need to pause, think deeply and then decide what is important to us. We will demonstrate what we value by how we act.”
As more businesses reopen, Austin-Travis County leaders want to remind the public to continue to be vigilant and practice good hygiene, physical and social distancing, and wear face coverings to prevent the disease from spreading and help keep each other safe.
“We shouldn’t have to choose between the economy or public health. Our community must choose both,” Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said. “And those simple things, the masking, the social distancing, the personal hygiene, is how we achieve both. There is no reason why we cannot all get behind those simple things so that we can do both effectively.”
“This community has proven we are ready, willing and able to adapt our behaviors to keep our co-workers, neighbors and families safe. The increase in new case numbers and daily new hospitalizations shows it’s time to mobilize,” Sarah Eckhardt, Special Assistant to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, said. “It is imperative we dial back our interactions to essential activities, commit fully to wearing face coverings, and take special precautions if we are or live with a person over 65 or a person with health vulnerabilities. Stay Covered to Stay Open!”
Austin and Travis County residents are directed to continue practicing social distancing, hygiene, and face-covering behaviors under Orders adopted today, June 15, by City and County leaders.
The Travis County Order, which expires on Aug. 15, 2020, states: “COVID-19 remains a public health emergency. While services and businesses begin to reopen, medical and scientific experts agree that doing so presents a risk to public health and increased community spread of COVID-19.”
It adds: “People should not be in groups larger than 10 people and should maintain social distancing from those not in their group.”
The City of Austin Order, which replaces the existing Stay Home-Work Safe mandate and also expires on Aug. 15, 2020, states that social gatherings of up to 10 people shall be “avoided or minimized.”
Socializing or attending outdoor events in groups of more than 10 individuals outside of the same household is prohibited. Nothing in the Orders prohibit the gathering of members of a household within the household’s residence.
Read the Austin Mayor’s Order HERE.
Read the Travis County Judge’s Order HERE.
The Orders make exceptions for certain behaviors, including those permitted by the Texas Governor. But all individuals and businesses are told by the City’s Order to comply with the minimum health protocols in the Governor’s Open Texas Checklists, found at: gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas.
A number of measures in the City’s Order are continuations of the previous Orders. These include a recommendation for businesses to keep “activity logs” to help Austin Public Health track and trace potential cases among customers, and restrictions on visitors to nursing homes, retirement and long-term care facilities.
The City’s Order also states, while the City of Austin is declared to be in a Stage 4 Alert (or higher), all businesses and operations reopened under the Governor’s Executive Orders are strongly encouraged to operate at a capacity less than otherwise permitted to make it more feasible for customers and staff to maintain proper social distancing within their establishment.
The Order includes requirements for households to isolate and not travel outside Austin-Travis County if a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19, or is awaiting test results, until cleared by APH.
While the Orders include general requirements for face coverings – noting that they cannot be enforced by civil or criminal penalty – they also state that “maintaining 6 feet social distancing and hand washing” are equally important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
For the latest information and updates, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.