UPDATE: Austin City Council gives covid orders more teeth

2pm Update:

Austin City council make it so breaking Governor Greg Abbott’s mask mandate could end up cost you $2000.

In a special council session today City Council did not shut the city down, but it did arm local health officials and police with tools to enforce covid 19 orders. Previous masking orders would have led to a $250 dollar fine but the city leaders upped the fine to $2000. Though they added, they are leaning to voluntary compliance.

The Council also approved a separate ordinance allows the city to hold work sites and businesses accountable, if the operations fail to meet covid order standards like social distancing and mask orders. The order would allow for civil enforcement.

Previously:

Austin City Council is hosting a special session to discuss Covid 19, infections, and restrictions this morning.

In a press conference Wednesday, Austin area health authority Dr. Mark Escott again said, he and other health experts do not want to recommend a second shutdown, “we know that it hurts people, we know it threatens people’s employment, we know it threatens the economy.” Escott said he and others want to find that balance between a healthy economy and healthy community. He added, there are other options on the table besides another shutdown, describing them as dialing things down as apposed to turning it off.

Austinites still have the power, Dr. Escott explained, city leaders do not necessarily need to order a second stay home order, if we as a community take the steps ourselves and start acting in a more protective way.

Austin City Council’s special session starts at 10am.

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