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Austin To Loosen COVID Rules For Live Music And Events

Attendees at the Austin City Limits music festival.
Gabriel C. Pérez
In this file photo, hundreds of people gather near a stage during the Austin City Limits music festival. The City of Austin announced Wednesday it is loosening the COVID-19 rules for event organizers applying for permits.

Austin's ailing live music and arts scenes have been hurting in the pandemic.

But as more and more Central Texans get vaccinated and COVID-related hospitalizations wane, the city known for live music is priming itself for a return to relative normalcy.

As part of that process, the Austin Center for Events announced Wednesday it's revising the health and safety requirements it laid out in March for organizing events.

Starting next week, officials said, event organizers applying for permits won't have to require attendees to prove they're vaccinated.

On top of that, city officials said permit applicants "can anticipate changes to the social distancing requirements and masking requirements."

In the announcement, Austin Public Health's interim medical director Dr. Mark Escott said the city's vaccination rates factored into the decision to loosen event rules.

"Now that we have vaccines widely available in our community, and more than 50% of our population has taken advantage of that opportunity, we are able to relax our guidelines and our rules," Escott said. "As we continue along this positive path, many people may return to their normal activities and more special events will begin taking place."

The announcement comes as large-scale music festivals and events gear up.

Austin City Limits Festival announced Wednesday that tickets go on sale for its first weekend tomorrow afternoon. Earlier this week, Levitation announced its plans to return to the Red River Cultural District over Halloween.

And while clubs and venues have been hosting smaller scale shows over the past few months, many intend to ramp up to full capacity over the summer for live music, including Mohawk and Continental Club.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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