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Masks off, city says, following CDC

Fully vaccinated Austinites can now gather, dine and shop without masking or distancing, according to updated health guidelines. (ACL Radio via city of Austin)

Austin Public Health officials no longer recommend fully vaccinated people mask or distance in most situations as a result of continuing declines in new reported COVID-19 cases and updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Austin-Travis County is now in Stage 2 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. At this stage, public health officials recommend:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals can participate in private indoor and outdoor gatherings as well as dine and shop without masking or distancing, if allowed by the business
  • Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals can gather privately, dine and shop with masking and distancing
  • Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, can travel with masking and distancing

"If you're vaccinated, you're very well protected," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told local elected officials Tuesday. "If you're unvaccinated, you're not."

The local risk-based guidelines do not affect local rules or regulations for businesses. Some venues and schools may impose additional requirements regardless of vaccination status or stage.

Additionally, the local health authority rules, which were updated Tuesday and renewed through June 15, encouraged fully vaccinated individuals to wear a mask and distance when the risk of transmission to those who are not fully vaccinated is significant. Partially or unvaccinated individuals should mask, distance and avoid crows and poorly ventilated spaces in most circumstances.

The CDC announced Thursday that it no longer recommends fully vaccinated individuals mask or distance in most circumstances. Exceptions include public transit, airplanes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

The decision arrived after updated data showed the effectiveness of vaccines against the virus and its variants; it also showed COVID is unlikely to be transmitted between vaccinated people.

More than 60% of the Travis County population 12 and older are partially vaccinated and nearly 48% are fully vaccinated as of Monday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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