Austin extends COVID-19 health rules through May 18, updates guidance for vaccinated residents

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Masking continues to be required, with some relaxed circumstances for fully vaccinated residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The city of Austin has extended standing health mandates related to coronavirus health and safety through May 18, including the requirement to wear masks in public.

The rules, enforced under the jurisdiction of Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County's interim health authority, were also updated to include guidance specific to fully vaccinated individuals.

“As more people become vaccinated in our area, we are able to move to more lenient requirements for those individuals,” Escott said. “However, we have not yet reached herd immunity in our community. To get there, we need more people to acquire immunity, which is why we encourage people to get the vaccine when it is available to them.”

Under the new guidance, people who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine following a known COVID-19 exposure unless they experience symptoms of the virus. They are also exempt from the requirement to wear masks in private settings, except when visiting with people at high risk for severe illness, as outlined in recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city policies were also updated to reflect the CDC's latest guidance, which permits students in school settings to maintain 3 feet, rather than 6 feet, of distance.


While the city continues to be under Stage 3 guidelines for health and safety, gatherings will still be limited to 10 people, and people are still required to maintain 6 feet of distance with people outside their own household in most settings.

Austin residents also continue to be required to wear masks outside of their homes, and businesses are asked to require masks on premises. Previously, Texas Attorney Ken Paxton challenged Austin and Travis County's right to enforce a mask requirement, but a district judge ruled in the local governments' favor in March.

Read the complete health authority rules here.
By Olivia Aldridge

Multi-Platform Journalist

Olivia hosts and produces Community Impact Newspaper's podcasts, The Austin Breakdown, The Houston Breakdown and The DFW Breakdown. She launched the podcasts after nearly three years as a reporter for the newspaper, covering public health, business, development and Travis County government for the Central Austin edition. Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas.