Might want to add another face mask to your collection. On July 14, Austin Public Health issued new rules for individual residents that extend the city's face covering order to mid-November.
APH's new rules were passed by the Austin City Council via a July 9 ordinance and are in effect now. In addition to face coverings, they include provisions on social distancing, group size, and how to quarantine while waiting for COVID-19 test results.
Individuals must wear a face covering while outside the home through November 12. Much like Gov. Greg Abbott's July 2 statewide order, face coverings must be worn unless:
- an individual is younger than 10 years old
- has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask
- eating, drinking, or sitting at a restaurant to eat or drink
- exercising outdoors
- outdoors and maintaining six feet of distance from someone not in their household
- driving alone or with people in their household
- obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face
- voting or administering an election (though it's encouraged)
- providing or engaged in religious worship (though it's encouraged)
- giving a speech or broadcast
Groups and social distancing
Groups of 10 are now prohibited from standing or gathering together through November 12. All others must stand at least six feet apart, unless they are with members of their own family or household, are momentarily passing, or while being provided with or providing a service. Exceptions to this rule are during dining in groups of 10 or less, or if dining tables are separated by a physical barrier.
Parents and guardians of children under 10 are responsible for that child maintaining six feet of space from those around them.
Construction projects must also stagger shifts for sites with more than 10 active workers and post notices, offer hand washing stations, and remove communal water coolers. All non-medical businesses, with the exception of child care facilities, must require face masks, encourage frequent hand washing, sanitization of high-touch surfaces, and conduct a health screening of each worker prior to each shift.
Individuals who have undergone a COVID-19 test must isolate — along with all members of their household — until their results are returned. Both the patient and the household may not travel outside the city of Austin unless it is to receive medical care or they are cleared by APH.
If positive, individuals must notify Austin Public Health if the residence does not allow for physical separation from other household members or if someone inside the home is over 65 or has a medical condition.
Now through December 31, Austin residents who violate a health authority rule during the coronavirus pandemic could face a $2,000 fine.