Austin, Texas – Today, Jan. 30, the Department of State Health Services announced that previous COVID-19 restrictions related to occupancy requirements and restrictions have been cancelled.
Under Governor's Order GA 32, after a state Trauma Service Area has COVID-19 hospitalizations that represent 15% of all hospitalizations for seven consecutive days, additional restrictions on businesses and hospitals must occur. Austin-Travis County is part of Trauma Service Area O, which encompasses 11 counties in Central Texas crossed that threshold on Jan. 10.
Today, Trauma Service Area O has been below 15% COVID-19 hospitalizations for seven consecutive days.
The restrictions outlined in GA 32 are required by the Governor's Order and were not optional for local jurisdictions. Businesses, including restaurants and retail, are now permitted to move to 75% occupancy from 50% occupancy, and hospitals can resume elective surgeries.
"This is a clear sign that the COVID-19 situation in our region is improving," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "However, we cannot let up now. Let us be the leaders on how a community flattens a curve and keeps it flat. With less restrictions, comes more responsibility. We must continue to stay home and reduce risk to save lives."
Austin-Travis County remains in Stage 5 of the COVID-19 community risk level; the highest level. The risk-based guidelines are not changes to local orders, rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors.
Stage five recommendations include:
- No gatherings with anyone outside of your household
- Dining and shopping should be limited to essential trips
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Businesses are recommended to operate through contactless options (I.e. curbside, delivery)
"It is critically important that everyone still follow protective measures," said Stephanie Hayden-Howard, Austin Public Health Director. "Wearing a mask, washing your hands, watching your distance, and avoiding gatherings have been lifesaving measures throughout this pandemic. We will not be able to vaccinate our way out to flattening the curve right now, so we need to take it upon ourselves to protect our community to further drive down transmission."
COVID-19 hospital data for the 5-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) can be found on the Austin Public Health COVID-19 dashboards. Historical and raw data can be found on the COVID-19 Data Hub.
Questions about details of the Governor's Order or the Governor's announcement should be directed to the Governor's Office.
For more information about COVID-19, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.