Since March 2020, any live event that needs a permit from the city of Austin to take place on public property has been shut down. That means the city has missed out events such the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park and the 2020 South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, which holds official events at the Austin Convention Center, although SXSW did come back with a digital festival in 2021.

The city is now on a path toward bringing back those events. Austin released a set of guidelines March 19 for both indoor and outdoor events, which include a new, required COVID-19 health and safety plan for anyone applying for a special events permit from the city—which includes those with 50 or more attendees at most city facilities.

The 13-page set of guidelines also includes guidance for all events and venues that includes setting up an isolation room or area on-site and hiring a safety coordinator to ensure compliance with regulations.

Events are slowly starting to come back in many areas of the city. The Long Center and Luck Reunion, an annual festival that usually takes place at Willie Nelson’s ranch, are hosting an outdoor concert series starting March 27 headlined by Patty Griffin. Venues such as the Zach Theatre, ACL Live at the Moody Theatre and Nutty Brown Amphitheatre are also hosting a limited number of socially distanced events, and the ACL has the datesOct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10 listed on its website.

Some other city facilities are also starting plans to bring events back. The Austin Central Library will start offering rentals and hosting private events April 1, according to the city, and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department “continues to evaluate re-opening,” according to a release.

Beginning March 10, when statewide mask mandates were lifted in Texas, a group of more than 30 music venues and local businesses came together to self-impose safety regulations and a code of conduct in a program they called “Safe in Sound.” Members include ACL Live, Antone’s, the Paramount Theatre and Stubb’s Bar-B-Q. Despite the statewide order, mask mandates continue to be enforced in Austin and Travis County.