Local NewsAustin, Travis County Lift All COVID-19 Emergency Orders as Statewide Metrics Reach Record Lows

The decision comes shortly after the two-year anniversary of the statewide coronavirus disaster declaration.
March 23, 2022
Two years after their initial implementation, the City of Austin and Travis County have rescinded their coronavirus emergency orders. The entities cite low COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers as catalysts for the decision.

Among those orders is the mask mandate in schools and the order requiring businesses to post a checklist of coronavirus precaution policies.

“Effective immediately, masking indoors, including inside city buildings, is no longer required (with only limited exceptions). Congratulations — it’s about time,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Thank you to everyone vaccinated and boosted for helping to get us here.”

Austin and Travis County, led by Adler and county leaders, have been among the most alarmed areas of the state when it came to coronavirus and responses to it by the government. It was Adler who in 2020 directed Austinites to shelter-in-place from a timeshare in Mexico.

This month, Texas’ COVID-19 positivity rate reached an all-time low of 2.18 percent — the lowest since the state began collecting the data two years ago.

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In Travis County, there are currently 51 people hospitalized who have tested positive for coronavirus — not necessarily hospitalized because of coronavirus complications.

During this two-year period, Austin has approved $2,000 fines for those not wearing masks, while exempting homeless individuals; closed businesses, including shutting down bars on New Year’s Eve; and prohibited landlords from evicting tenants who failed to pay rent.

None of these are unique to Austin, other cities across the state and country implemented similar provisions at various points, and the authority to do so stems from the governor’s disaster declarations that trigger local powers within the Texas Disaster Act.

As long as the state disaster order is continued, local orders could be resumed at any point, and the city says it is monitoring for any “concerning trends following spring break.”


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

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