Control Orders and Emergency Rules
Information is provided here regarding state and local orders and rules that have been issued during COVID-19, including the Austin-Travis County "Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe" Orders and Health Authority Emergency Rules.
The State of Texas has announced a phased reopening of businesses and services. The Order, issued by Governor Abbott, provides guidance for employers, employees, and customers of reopened businesses.
For more information on the Governor's orders and regulations, visit the Texas Coronavirus Resources and Response Page.
City of Austin/Travis County Orders
The City of Austin and Travis County extended the “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe” Orders through December 15, 2020. These orders direct Austin-Travis County residents to continue to practice social distancing, hygiene, and face-covering behaviors. In addition to hygiene guidelines, the orders state that social gatherings up to 10 people should be avoided or minimized, and socializing in groups of 10+ individuals outside of the same household are prohibited. Read the full City of Austin and Travis County Orders.
- Current Orders
Health Authority Emergency Rules - August 14, 2020
Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe (Austin) - August 14, 2020
Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe (Travis County) - August 14, 2020
Order Relating to Extension of Vacate Notices (Austin) - July 24, 2020
Order Relating to Extension of Vacate Notices (Travis County) - July 22, 2020
Order of Control for Mass Gatherings and Critical Infrastructure (Austin) − March 21, 2020
Order of Control for Mass Gatherings and Critical Infrastructure (Travis County) − March 21, 2020
Order of Control for Bars, Restaurants, and Gatherings (Austin) - March 20, 2020
Order of Control for Bars, Restaurants, and Gatherings (Travis County) - March 20, 2020
Order of Control Measures for Healthcare Facilities (Austin) − March 13, 2020
Resolution to Ratify Declaration of Local State of Disaster (Austin) − March 12, 2020
- Previous Orders
Health Authority Emergency Rules - July 14, 2020
Stay Home, Mask, And Otherwise Be Safe - July 02, 2020
Order Relating to Extension of Vacate Notices (Travis County) - June 11, 2020
Stay Home, Mask, And Otherwise Be Safe - June 26, 2020
Gatherings of Individuals Order (Travis County) - June 25, 2020
Stay Home, Mask and Otherwise Be Safe (Austin) - June 22, 2020
Mandatory Health and Safety Policies for Commercial Entities (Travis County) - June 18, 2020
Mandatory Health and Safety Policies for Business Employees and Patrons (Austin) - June 17, 2020
COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines and Order (Stay Home, Save Lives), (Austin) - June 15, 2020
COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines and Order 2020-11 (Travis County) - June 15, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Austin) - May 29, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Austin) - May 8, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Travis County) - May 8, 2020
Order Relating to Extension of Vacate Notices (Austin) - May 7, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Austin) - April 13, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Travis County) - April 13, 2020
Mayoral Order Impacting Commercial and Residential Landlords and Tenants (Austin) - March 26, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe: Guidance for the Construction Industry (Austin) − March 24, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Austin) − March 24, 2020
Stay Home - Work Safe Order (Travis County) − March 24, 2020
Executive Order relating to COVID-19 Preparedness and Mitigation (Texas) - March 19, 2020
Order of Control for Bars and Restaurants (Austin) − March 17, 2020
Order of Control for Mass and Community Gatherings (Austin) − March 15, 2020
Order of Control for Mass and Community Gatherings (Travis County) − March 15, 2020
Food Establishment Rules (Austin)− March 13, 2020
Order of Control Measures for nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities (Austin) − March 11, 2020
Health Authority Rules
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority, adopted Health Authority Emergency Rules, which expire on November 12, 2020. The Emergency Rules govern individuals and sites within the City of Austin and impose requirements to protect public health. Read the full Health Authority Emergency Rules.
- Guidance was issued for child care programs that serve children birth through age 5. Read the Guidance for Open Child Care Programs (English - Spanish).
- Additional guidance was issued for reopening schools in Austin-Travis County. Read the Austin Public Health Interim Guidance on Reopening for Austin-Travis County Schools.
Dr. Escott has also distributed letters to sororities, fraternities, and apartment complexes to remind operators and individuals of local requirements including the updated Emergency Rules and extended City and County Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe Orders.
The City of Austin and Travis County Orders include a requirement for employees and customers to wear face coverings in most circumstances.
A significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus lack symptoms. Because an infected person can transmit the virus to others before showing any symptoms, face coverings help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining social distancing and hygiene, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
A printable PDF flyer on face coverings is available in English (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Simplified Chinese (PDF), Traditional Chinese (PDF), Vietnamese (PDF), Korean (PDF), Burmese (PDF), Urdu (PDF), Arabic (PDF).
- Tips & Tutorials
Cloth face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Quick Cut T-Shirt No-Sew Face Covering
Materials needed: T-shirt, scissors
Bandana No-Sew Face Covering
Materials needed: Bandana (or square cloth), coffee filter, rubber bands (or hair ties), scissors
Sewn Face Covering
Materials: Two 10”x6” rectangles of cotton fabric, two 6” pieces of elastic (or rubber bands, string, cloth strips, or hair ties), needle and thread (or bobby pin), scissors, sewing machine
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Q. Does the Governor’s Order mean that all employees, essential and non-essential, can go back to work if their business is allowed to open?
A. Employers of businesses that are permitted to reopen will determine the number of employees that will return to work.
Q. Where do social gatherings fit in the new executive order?
A. The Governor’s Proclamation dated July 2, 2020 amended (GA-28) to state that except as provided in his order or the DSHS minimum standard health protocols found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus, people shall not be in groups larger than 10 and shall maintain six feet of social distance from those not in their group. Except as permitted by the Governor’s Order, the Proclamation requires approval from the Mayor or County Judge to hold outdoor gatherings in groups larger than 10.
The City’s Order is consistent with the Governor’s Order and provides that social gatherings shall be avoided or minimized. Socializing in a group of more than 10 individuals are prohibited, unless expressly allowed by the Governor’s Order. Social distancing and masking requirements must be followed. Vulnerable individuals (those over 65, who are immunocompromised, or who have underlying health conditions) shall particularly avoid groups of more than two beyond the members of their single household or residence.
Q. According to the Governor’s order can people attend the following events (and how many people can attend)?
Festivals/Gatherings: Permitted. Indoor venues are subject to the 50% occupancy limit. Outdoor areas or venues that are subject to the 50% occupancy limit are: professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events; swimming pools; water parks; museums and libraries; zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities; and rodeos and equestrian events. Except as otherwise provided, all other outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people. Social distancing and masking requirements must be followed.
Funerals: Permitted. If the funeral is a religious service, there are no occupancy limits for an indoor or outdoor service. If not a religious service, indoor venues are limited to 50% occupancy. Outdoor venues are limited to no more than 10 people. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed.
Picnics: Permitted. Must be 10 people or less at an outdoor gathering. Both the Governor’s Order and the City’s Order require that social gatherings with those outside your household be avoided or minimized. Face coverings are required expect when consuming food.
Religious Services: Permitted. There are no occupancy limits for religious services.
Weddings: Permitted. If the wedding is a religious service, there are no occupancy limits for an indoor or outdoor service. If not a religious service, indoor venues are limited to 50% occupancy. Outdoor venues are not subject to the 10-attendee limitation on outdoor gatherings so long as people are seated at tables of no more than 10 people or in rows that allow for adequate social distancing and otherwise comply with the health protocols provided for in the Governor’s Open Texas Checklist found at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/opentexas. Masking and social distancing requirements must be followed as provided for in both the Governor’s Order and the City’s Order.
Q. Will / When are City facilities going to open?
Q. Can THIS business open?
A: Visit the Business & Industry page for more information on businesses that can open and occupancy requirements.
Q. Who determines occupancy for businesses?
A. The Development Services Department will assist businesses in determining occupancy.
Q. How do the Governor’s orders impact/change the direction/guidance that the City has for the construction industry?
A. Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (CISA) operations are permitted to operate without occupancy restrictions. Social distancing and masking requirements must be followed. Additional construction requirements are listed in Exhibit D of the Mayor’s Order.
Q. Does the City’s Order continue to apply in light of the Governor’s new Order?
A. On July 2, 2020, the Governor issued Governor’s Order (GA-29) and a Proclamation amending Governor’s Order (GA-28). GA-28 still applies except as specifically modified by GA-29 or the Governor’s Proclamation. In response to the Governor’s Order and Proclamation, the Mayor issued the Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe Order (Order No. 20200702) on July 2, 2020. This Order applies along with the Order and Proclamation issued by the Governor.
Q. How will the City enforce business capacity limits?
A. The occupancy limit will be enforced by the Austin Police Department, the Austin Code Department, and the Austin Fire Marshal. The first step of the enforcement process is education. Subsequent complaints that are verified may result in criminal penalties.
Complaints about businesses not complying with capacity limits should be referred to 311.
Q. As a business owner, can I require that my customers wear face coverings?
A. Yes. Under the City’s Order, all business establishments (including not-for-profit entities) and commercial entities (including with limitation condominium and multifamily residential, office common area, and individual office spaces), and the operators of venues or events open to the public, are ordered to implement and maintain a health and safety plan related to the transmission of the COVID -19 virus.
At a minimum, the plan must require that all customers, visitors, and employees wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while on any part of the business’s or venue’s premises. Exceptions to this requirement include: when a person is alone, or in the presence only of other members of the same household or residence, in single room or space; when visibility of the mouth is necessary for communication by or with a person who is hearing impaired; when eating or drinking; when outdoors if consistent separation of 6 feet or more can be maintained; or when wearing the mask poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk due to a medical condition, mental health condition or disability.
Q. Do I still need to wear a face covering when entering a business open under the State and City orders?
A. We are still requiring individuals to continue to wear face coverings. In addition, to still comply with the 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
Q. What is still prohibited by the Governor’s Order?
A. Bars and similar establishments are closed for in-person service under the Governor’s Order. Commercial rafting and tubing services are prohibited from operating. Outdoor and social gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited expect as otherwise provided.
People shall not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
Q. Why is there a Stay At Home Order?
A. There is substantial community transmission of the virus, which is easily spread between people. Many people who have it don’t have symptoms or have mild symptoms, but they can easily spread the virus even if they don’t feel very bad. Some who get the virus, especially those over the age of 60, those who have weak immune systems, and those with various medical conditions, can end up with serious complications and could need medical intervention such as oxygen or help breathing.
Because the virus spreads so easily, without intervention like this Order, many people could need medical attention, placing a strain our hospital system. There may not be enough beds or equipment to adequately care for the most seriously ill. It is critical that we do everything in our power to slow down the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve” to avoid overwhelming our health care system. If this succeeds, it means that there will be health care available for those who get sick with COVID-19 or who need emergency medical care for accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other serious medical conditions.
Q. What help is available for victims of domestic violence?
A. If it is not safe for you to remain home, you are urged to find another safe place to stay during this order. Please reach out to:
- SAFE: 512-267-7233
- Hope Alliance: 800-460-7233
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-877-863-6338
Q. How does the Order impact people experiencing homelessness?
A. Homeless individuals are not subject to the shelter in place order but are encouraged to seek shelter. The City will continue to work with state and local partners, to maximize available resources for the homeless population. To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they shall, to the greatest extent feasible, comply with physical distancing and face covering requirements. For more information, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/Homelessness.