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With COVID numbers improving, Austin and Travis County lower risk level to Stage 2

A cyclist passes a Spanish language mural, featuring the popular Mexican television actor Chespirito, reading "put on the mask" on Marcelino's restaurant in East Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Under the Stage 2 risk guidelines, partially or unvaccinated individuals should still wear masks.

Lee esta historia en español.

As the threat of the omicron variant recedes, Austin Public Health officially moved Austin and Travis County to Stage 2 of its risk-based guidelines Friday.

The area was in Stage 5, the highest threat level, just last week, but with dramatically improved hospitalization numbers and infection rates, APH downgraded the threat level for the third time in eight days.

“Let’s hope this spring marks the beginning of a brighter, healthier future,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a statement. “While we enjoy this moment, don’t forget about those who are still at risk. You can always wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you.”

Under Stage 2 guidelines, the agency says:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals may participate in indoor or outdoor private gatherings, dine and shop without precautions. They should still travel with precautions.
  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals should still wear a mask, wash hands and social distance.

The Stage 2 announcement falls in line with revised guidelines for masks released a week ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Walkes cautioned masking indoors would provide extra protection through the festival season. Sunday will mark two years to the day when APH and the City of Austin canceled the 2020 SXSW conference.

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Jimmy is the assistant program director, but still reports on business and sports every now and then. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @maasdinero.
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