Face masks now required when out in public for Austin-Travis County residents, part of community's foreseeable future per health officials

All Austin-Travis County residents over the age of 10 must wear a face mask over their nose and mouth when out in public for most activities, according to new coronavirus mitigation orders April 13 from city and county officials.

Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said mandatory face coverings are "another key piece to flattening the curve," but should not be substituted for maintaining social distancing measures. In the same order, city and county officials also extended the area's shelter-in-place order through May 8. The original order, set March 25, was to expire April 13 after 11:59 p.m.

"It is critical that the public understand that this will not only help in slowing the spread of the disease, but face coverings are also part of our foreseeable future to safely reopen our society," Escott said.

The orders specify that face coverings must be worn when in a public building, using public transportation or ride shares, pumping gas and while outside when six-feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Masks are not required when eating or when wearing one would pose a health, safety or security risk.

"Our extended orders carry a very simple message, cover your nose and mouth when out in public to save lives," Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said. "Wearing a face covering in addition to the other steps the public has been taking are essential to support our community."


Austin Mayor Steve Adler, in a statement, said he was impressed by the "resiliency and spirit " of the community and urged everyone to "take care of each other."

With face masks now mandatory, fabric stores have been elevated to "essential business" status "for the sole purpose of selling fabric and supplies necessary for the creation of fabric face coverings," according to release from city and county officials.

Earlier in the day, celebrity Austinite Matthew McConaughey posted a video on social media, as Bobby Bandito, his coronavirus-fighting alter-ego, explaining how to make a face mask at home. Community Impact Newspaper has also published a face mask-making guide.

By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


MOST RECENT

Plank Seafood Provisions
Sustainable seafood spot opens its doors and 3 other new restaurants to follow in The Domain

Check out these four new and upcoming restaurants inside The Domain.

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

Georgetown City Council will use $910,000 from $5.6 million in excess funds from fiscal year 2020-21. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown City Council to use $910K in excess funds for additional municipal services

Georgetown City Council will use $910,000 from $5.6 million in excess funds from fiscal year 2020-21.

JAMS Music owner Ace Pepper restrings an acoustic guitar at his shop on Aquarena Springs Drive. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
JAMS Music in San Marcos to close by end of April

Owner Ace Pepper, who also plays in several local bands and works as a sound engineer, said the company that owns the building he leases is selling the property, and is not sure if he will continue his guitar shop at another location.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Comal County have increased to 19, up from 13 on April 9. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Comal County positivity rates pass 5% as area hospitalizations increase

The county has reported 189 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 since April 5, 109 of which are New Braunfels residents.

Work could begin on the Bee Creek Sports Complex by mid-April. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction on Bee Creek Sports Complex could begin in April

Bee Creek Sports Complex, located on 70 acres at 4400 Bee Creek Road in Spicewood, will include seven synthetic multiuse fields, restrooms, team meeting facilities, playground areas, trails, hundreds of parking spaces and a maintenance building.

KTonic offers six flavors of kombucha, a fermented tea: ginger and lemongrass, cayenne, hibiscus, orange peel, cherry and elderberry. (Courtesy KTonic LLC)
Organic beverage company KTonic to break ground in Hutto

The company will have a tap room opening in early 2022.

Work on a new NBISD elementary school campus is to begin this summer. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)
Next NBISD elementary school campus to begin construction this summer

The school will eventually replace Carl Schurz and Seele Elementary Schools.

Expansion of the city of Bee Cave's hike and bike trail will be a topic of conversation at the April 13 Bee Cave City Council meeting. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bee Cave council to discuss growth of its hike and bike trail system April 13

Bee Cave city staff are expected to discuss funding the construction of a second phase of projects.

Photo of Cypress Springs Elementary
Dripping Springs ISD approves new attendance zones for 2021-22 year

The new zones accommodate the addition of Cypress Springs Elementary School, which joins the district this fall.

The City of Pflugerville Equity Commission voted on a mission statement during its virtual meeting April 12. (Courtesy City of Pflugerville Equity Commission)
Pflugerville Equity Commission's new mission statement highlights monitoring city leadership

The commission will make recommendations on equity and empowerment issues and also promote diversity awareness in the community.