Round Rock City Council unanimously votes to repeal face-covering ordinance on April 22

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ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — On Thursday night, Round Rock City Council voted 7-0 to repeal the citywide face-covering ordinance starting at 11:59 p.m. on April 22.

According to a press release from the city, councilmembers also did away with the second reading of the ordinance, so the vote is final.

The council says it was moved to make this decision because vaccination numbers are continuing to increase in Williamson County, and hospitalizations remain low in the area. Mayor Craig Morgan said as of Thursday night, more than 21% of the adults in the county have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Hospitalization rates are at about 5% in the region, the city said.

The ordinance was originally set to expire on April 29.

Mayor Morgan said council could have decided on one of four options:

  • Repeal the ordinance immediately
  • Allow the ordinance to continue for several days to give business owners more time to get ready and give employees time to get vaccinated
  • Allow the ordinance to expire on its own
  • Extend the ordinance

Several people having lunch in downtown Round Rock on Wednesday told KXAN they would continue to wear masks despite any rule change by the city council. Round Rock’s Nancy Ruiz believes it is still too early to get rid of the ordinance.

“We need to keep the masks,” she said. “It’s an easy thing to do and once someone gets really sick from COVID-19 they don’t get their life back, they die.”

Morgan said this conversation has been a tough one. He has heard from people on both sides.

“I will tell you there’s just as many emails I get that don’t want the mask mandate anymore and so it’s just one of those things that are going to be a 50-50 split and I don’t know that anyone and everyone will be happy,” he explained ahead of Thursday evening’s meeting.

The face-covering ordinance has been in place since June 29, 2020. The council first enacted the emergency ordinance under the city’s Home Rule Charter. When the council decided to renew the ordinance for 60 days in February, Morgan said the COVID-19 vaccine distribution was only beginning to get underway.

Morgan is hopeful for the future. He said COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are going down while vaccinations are going up. At present, Williamson County COVID-19 Dashboard data reports 20% are fully vaccinated and 37% have had their first vaccine dose. Morgan said they expect those numbers to continue rising.

“I do believe we all have the tools now that we didn’t have even just in January,” Morgan said.

He also asked residents to be respectful to businesses that still might require masks.

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