This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, June 30. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
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Round Rock and Cedar Park enact mask-wearing requirements
Round Rock City Council has approved an emergency order mandating people age 10 and over wear face coverings in public places — inside or outside — when social distancing isn’t possible. Businesses must require workers and customers to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained.
The ordinance includes escalating penalties ranging from a warning to a $1,000 fine for non-compliance. It goes into effect tonight.
Cedar Park has issued an emergency order mandating that all businesses and nonprofits — except places of worship — require workers and visitors over the age of 10 to wear a face covering. There’s no penalty for non-compliance, and the order does not apply when outside or when inside a gym. The order goes into effect Wednesday.
Mask-wearing requirements for Travis and Hays counties went into effect last Tuesday.
Voters head to the polls amid a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases
Early voting for the July 14 election is underway. Voters are heading to the polls in the middle of a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases in the Austin area, and most voters still have to cast a ballot in person.
While other states have expanded their vote by mail programs, Texas officials have refused. The state limits mail-in voting to people over 65, traveling out of their home county, in jail or disabled.
Caitlin Boehne voted at the Carver Public Library in East Austin because she says she didn’t meet those criteria. Boehne says election officials made the polling location as safe as possible, but she wishes she had the option of voting by mail. "I mean the workers, the voters, like everybody has to risk their health to order to participate in the democratic process," she said. "It’s astounding. So, voting by mail should be universal."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott extended early voting this election — which ends July 10 — to ensure lines are shorter. Boehne says she hopes the courts force Texas to open its mail-in voting program. She says she doesn’t want to have to risk her health standing in a crowded line this November.
— Ashley Lopez
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