Austin,Travis County Issue New COVID Orders for Private Businesses

On Thursday, city and county officials announced their intent to issue new orders that say are intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, as well as to and protect the local economy and hospital systems. Read the full orders here.

The “Protecting Customers and Employees and Preserving Adequate Workforce Capacity” orders include:

“We appreciate every business that does their part to keep our community and their customers healthy and safe,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “Today’s orders support local businesses by providing them tools and options to keep their doors open, customers safe, and our local economy growing.”

Businesses can still choose how they facilitate public health recommendations.

“We are enabling businesses to better protect public health and to make sure they have enough healthy workers to stay open,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Today’s orders authorize businesses to choose for themselves whether they want to require masking or testing, or look at vaccinations, in their own facilities as a way to protect their customers and employees,” said Adler. “This is an example of government getting out of the way of business. The orders also provide for a notice to be posted on the front door so potential customers can know whether or not a business is providing these protections.”

As of Wednesday, Austin-Travis County’s 7-day moving average of hospitalizations is 110. The area’s Community Transmission Rate is 1,254 and the positivity rate is almost 33 percent—the highest it’s ever been.

A spokesperson for Governor GReg Abbott issued a statement Thursday following the announcement, saying the municipal orders to not supersede any of the executive orders the governor has enacted that prohibit cities or counties from imposing similar mandates.

“Any business would be within its legal rights to ignore this municipal order,” said Nan Tolson, Abbott spokeperson.

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