City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Encouraged by low key indicators, health leaders move cautiously into a new phase of the pandemic
AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin and Travis County have lifted all COVID-19 emergency rules and orders, effective immediately. Infection and hospitalization numbers are among the lowest the area has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
Masking in most City facilities will now be optional, with a few exceptions such as the airport, clinical settings and jails. Orders regarding masking on public school campuses and signage requirements for businesses are no longer in effect, either. The decision to continue wearing a mask should be respected as public health officials still encourage wearing masks indoors for individuals who are high risk or provide care for someone who is high risk.
"We have not eliminated the virus but adapted to it. We now have knowledge and tools to fight COVID-19 when we are called to do so," said Austin-Travis County Health Authority, Dr. Desmar Walkes. "I am confident that the community will come together if the need arises again, as they have for the past two years of this pandemic."
In this new phase of the response, Austin Public Health is preparing to adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Levels tracker. Expect this update in the coming days. APH is closely monitoring data for any concerning trends following spring break.
"I want to thank our public health leaders and staff, our vaccine and testing clinics, and our community for getting us to this point," said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. "This is a testament of how adaptable we have been and can be in the future."
Policymakers used data from the APH Epidemiology unit and the UT Modeling Consortium that provided real-time pandemic surveillance to map possible scenarios based on community behavior.
"Effective immediately, masking indoors, including inside city buildings, is no longer required (with only limited exceptions). Congratulations -- it's about time!" said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. "Thank you to everyone vaccinated and boosted for helping to get us here."
Our communities are better equipped to protect themselves from COVID-19. Testing options and vaccines are available throughout Travis County. People who feel sick should stay home, away from others and get tested.
APH testing and vaccination information
Getting fully vaccinated and boosted remains a proven way to avoid severe disease and illness from COVID-19. People can find vaccine providers using Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) or by texting their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.
APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
The APH Mobile Vaccination Program brings vaccine clinics to businesses, churches and more. Organizations can fill out an online form to request a pop-up clinic at their location.