AUSTIN (KXAN) — The local health authority announced Tuesday morning that Austin-Travis County is now officially in Stage 3 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. The move from Stage 4 to Stage 3 allows people who are fully vaccinated to ditch the mask in some situations.
For people who are fully vaccinated, masks are recommended:
- During indoor gatherings (when you’re around people outside of your immediate household)
- When you’re traveling
- And for people who are high-risk, while dining
For people who are fully vaccinated, masks are no longer required:
- During outdoor gatherings
- While dining (for people that are not high-risk)
- While shopping
For people who are not fully vaccinated, the guidance still recommends wearing a mask during any outing. APH also says people who are high-risk and not fully vaccinated should only be doing essential tasks.
You can view the guidance based on vaccination status below:
Here’s what’s changed
The last time we were in Stage 3 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines was back in mid-July. The guidance has changed since.
In July, masks were not recommended during private indoor gatherings for people who were fully vaccinated. It also didn’t make exceptions for people dining at high-risk.
APH says the reason a mask is now recommended at indoor private events and not for events like shopping and dining is that you are around people for an extended period of time.
“At that event, you will be around those individuals for an extended period of time, indoors, and most likely not social distancing the entire time as you talk and interact with other people – all factors that increase the chances of contracting COVID,” a spokesperson for the city said.
Dr. Walkes said even though we’ve hit Stage 3, she still encourages people to use best practices to prevent COVID-19.