Travis County commissioners unanimously approved a new ordinance today that requires people over 10 years old to wear face coverings when inside county facilities.
Those who refuse to comply can be arrested and charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days.
"I think this is a prudent policy," Commissioner Brigid Shea said, adding that she thinks other government entities and businesses should follow suit.
The ordinance does not include correctional facilities, such as the Travis County Jail or juvenile detention facilities. County courtrooms under the purview of the Texas Supreme Court and other government entities are also exempt.
If people do not have a face covering, the county will provide one. For those unable to wear one, such as because of a medical condition, the county will try to serve them over the phone or online.
There are very few places where local governments can enforce mask mandates, per an order from Gov. Greg Abbott.
Former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said that being unable to enforce wider mask mandates is "painful" during a virtual news conference yesterday, and places the burden on individuals to make good decisions about how to keep themselves and their communities safe.
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Some Austin restaurants, bars will keep masking requirements, capacity limits when statewide orders lift next week
Two days shy of the one-year anniversary of Texas' first confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he will rescind statewide pandemic restrictions, including business capacity limits and mask mandates, next week. Although businesses—especially those tied to the hospitality industry—have suffered financially over the last year, many Austin establishments are rejecting Abbott's order.
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(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.
Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.
A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.
Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."
She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."
That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."
Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.
Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.
Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.
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Two hours after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that state mandates on wearing masks and limiting business capacities would be lifted, Mayor Steve Adler wrote a letter to the city urging residents to keep their masks on and stay safe.
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