AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Mayor Steve Adler has issued a new local order following Texas Governor Greg Abbott's new guidelines.
The new local order goes into effect today (7/3) at 12 p.m. (CT) and the mayor said in a Facebook post that it takes "full advantage of new tools in the governor's latest orders making masks mandatory & enforceable while also prohibiting groups over 10."
The post goes on to say, "It is now on each of us to do our part for our communities & for our loved ones especially this holiday weekend."
The local order comes after Gov. Abbott said that local officials, as appropriate, can and should enforce the wearing of face coverings in public.
“I am grateful that as the science supporting the effectiveness of facial coverings has improved, the governor has been persistent in his public messaging regarding the importance of masking in our fight against COVID-19. Today, he truly demonstrated his commitment to both public health and the health of the economy through GA-29. This is not a partisan issue, it is a human issue, and Texas is demonstrating we can be stronger together,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority, said in a news release.
Under the new City of Austin order, the following recommendations have been made:
- All persons MUST wear some form of covering that fits snugly over their nose and mouth, with limited exceptions
- All individuals and business establishments are ORDERED to practice the social distancing, hygiene, and face covering behaviors
- Social gatherings of any size shall be avoided or minimized
- 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
- Nursing homes, retirement facilities, and long-term care facilities must prohibit non-critical assistance visitors or providers from accessing their facilities
- All persons MUST practice social distancing except when in the presence of only members of one's own household or residence, or when otherwise exempted by this Order
- All business's or venue's premises or facilities MUST require and enforce this health and safety policy or plan as to all who enter into the premises or facility, including employees
- All business establishments reopened by the Governor's 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
- To assist in both the statewide and local contact tracing programs, all retail, restaurants, and bars allowing indoor service and all reopened services are encouraged to maintain an activity log, as reasonably possible, with the contact information for all inside or sit-down customers and employees including the dates, times and locations of where they were present
- If someone in a household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, the entire household is ORDERED to isolate and not travel outside of the City of Austin except to seek medical attention or until cleared by Austin Public Health
- A violation of this Order may be punishable through criminal enforcement, except as limited by state order. A warning will be issued to an individual before issuing a citation
- Businesses are still required to ensure that all patrons and employees wear a face covering while inside their business, unless exempted by this Order
- People taking part in permitted activities should not accept the exception offered in Executive Order GA-28 and abide by the 10-person limitation
The new local order from Mayor Adler can be seen below:
On July 2, Governor Abbott issued an executive order requiring face coverings in counties with 20 or more cases of COVID-19. He said the order is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 which has seen a spike here in Central Texas. The order goes into effect at 12 p.m. (CT) on July 3 as well.
Exceptions to the order include people younger than 10, eating or drinking, exercising, driving alone or with passengers from the same household, in religious worship, giving a speech for broadcast, medical conditions, and voting.
"Medical studies show that wearing a face-covering slows the spread of COVID-19 and it protects you and your family," Abbott said, adding that the order is an effort to prevent another shutdown. "I know wearing a face covering is not the most convenient thing to do but I also know that wearing a face-covering will keep Texas open for business and help Texans get the paycheck they need."
A verbal or written warning can be issued for a first-time violator of the maks requirement. A person’s second violation can result in a fine of up to $250. Local law enforcement can issue warnings and fines, but cannot arrest or jail people.
"The virus it doesn't know and it doesn't care what your age, race, political association or geographic location is, it will attack anyone, anywhere," Abbott said.
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