Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Austin-Travis County Health Authority Issues Revised Rules

Rules include changes to masking requirements for those who are fully vaccinated  

Austin, Texas – Today, May 18, the Health Authority Rules were renewed through June 15 and include updates to allow businesses to adopt policies for those who are fully vaccinated that more closely align with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

"We did not get to this stage by luck. Throughout this pandemic, our community took the necessary protection measures to reduce spread and get vaccinated which helped us achieve a lower risk level and therefore relaxed rules," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "Those who have been fully vaccinated can resume many activities without the need to wear a mask, and those who are unvaccinated have plenty of opportunities available to get vaccinated and help us get closer to herd immunity."  

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the full course of their COVID-19 vaccination regimen; Pfizer and Moderna require two doses and Johnson & Johnson requires one dose.   

  • Fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask and distance when the risk of transmission to those who are not fully vaccinated is significant. 
  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear a mask, distance, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces in most circumstances. 

"We are still in a pandemic. But it is now easier than ever to get vaccinated so that you can enjoy more lenient protection measures," APH Interim Director Adrienne Sturrup said. "Whether you get vaccinated through Austin Public Health or any of the numerous local providers in our area, we want every family to take advantage of the opportunity and help our community get to the finish line."  

The Rules also encourage sites to support and provide incentives for workers and patrons to get vaccinated to reduce the risk to those who are unable to receive the vaccine. Nothing in the Rules prevent sites from requiring additional precautions. Additionally, the Rules state: 

  • Masking remains required in hospitals, health care facilities, long-term care facilities and other congregate settings.   
  • For those who are fully vaccinated, masking remains required unless a business owner allows fully vaccinated individuals to remove their masks indoors with less than 500 people or outdoors with less than 2,500 people.
  • Outdoor sites with more than 2,500 people may be exempt if the Health Authority approves the site's COVID-19 precautions. 

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for those aged 18 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for those aged 12 and up. Individuals can receive the Moderna vaccine through APH or find additional vaccine providers in your area at Vaccines.gov.  

For additional COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.