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Austin requiring masks in schools, city property, against governor's order

In October 2020, AISD teachers and students kicked off a late in-person school year with masks, similar to what this year's first day of school will look like. (Bob Daemmrich)

Austin-Travis County city officials have had enough with holding back from issuing local masking orders in the wake of a third COVID-19 surge. The city of Austin and Travis County announced a new masking order that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

The new order, that defies Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order barring local mask mandates, requires everyone on Austin's public school grounds or city and county property to wear a mask. "These are necessary yet difficult decisions, but those guided by the data and doctors will remain our North Star," Mayor Steve Adler said.

At the highest level of risk in Austin Public Health's risk-based guidelines, the seven-day average for hospitalization is 84 with only six ICU beds available as of Wednesday evening. At Stage 5, the county was already recommending everyone wear a mask and that those unvaccinated avoid nonessential trips. The area stepped into the Stage 5 zone last week, but due to Abbott's order, couldn't enforce any of its recommendations.

The governor is standing his ground on his decision to ban local mandates. When Dallas and Bexar counties secured a temporary restraining order against Abbott's ban and issued an emergency order to mask in schools and commercial entities, Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the filing of a petition to "strike down" the mask mandates.

While Austin could face the same fate, Adler told KXAN, "We've already been in court twice with the governor. The district court the last two times has upheld our ability to issue these kinds of orders locally."

The city's order backs up Austin ISD's mask mandate, announced on Monday, for when school officially starts next week.

Even without a city-wide mandate, some businesses have heeded the guidance from APH by requiring masks and in some cases proof of vaccination.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway