In a significant setback for the native restaurant trade and public well being at massive, Austin Public Well being (APH) is recommending that everybody — vaccinated, unvaccinated, and partially vaccinated — put on masks whereas they’re indoors. APH can also be urging eligible unvaccinated people to get their vaccines as quickly as potential, amid quickly growing COVID-19 circumstances within the Austin space because of the extremely transmissible delta variant.
For eating places and bars, which means that Austin and Travis County clients are urged to proceed to maintain their masks on when not seated for consuming and eating functions, whether or not they’re indoors or outside. Clients also needs to preserve their masks on when choosing up takeout and supply orders. Service trade employees also needs to preserve their masks on whereas working.
The brand new suggestions have been introduced as Austin and Travis County are on the verge of sliding again into Stage 4 of the region’s risk-based guidelines (statistically the world ought to have reached that benchmark already), which decide how masks ought to be used primarily based on COVID-related knowledge. At the moment, there’s a seven-day moving average of 125 new circumstances with 31 new hospital admissions; there are 1,061 active cases in the county, with a complete of 196 hospitalizations; and the county’s positivity rate is 9.6 %, which elevated by three % from final week; Texas-wide it’s 11.52 percent. On July 20, APH confirmed 4 circumstances of the delta variant within the Travis County space. (The town moved up into Stage 3 in mid-July.)
“We all know the delta variant is right here and is operating rampant in our neighborhood,” says Dr. Desmar Walkes, the brand new Austin-Travis County Well being Authority, in an announcement. “It’ll proceed to trigger a surge in circumstances and hospitalizations if we don’t come collectively to cease it. Do your half — put on a masks indoors and get vaccinated for those who haven’t already.”
Of the Travis County inhabitants, 62.16 % of eligible folks have been absolutely vaccinated, with 71.20 % partially vaccinated, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Kids beneath the age of 12 are nonetheless not accepted to get the vaccine, although a vaccine for kids 5 and up is expected to be ready by midwinter. Of the eligible inhabitants, solely 51.6 % of Texans are absolutely vaccinated.
It’s principally unvaccinated people who are getting COVID-19 at this level, these folks at the moment are highly susceptible to the contagious virus, which might result in hospitalization, long-term well being points, and demise.This doesn’t imply that vaccinated folks aren’t susceptible to catching the virus — they are — however these so-called “breakthrough” circumstances are usually not as extreme. That’s one more reason to get a vaccine.
If and when town does enter Stage 4, the rules ask that vaccinated folks don masks for indoor and out of doors occasions, in addition to keep masked whereas eating out at eating places; persons are allowed to take their masks whereas seated for precise consuming and consuming functions beneath the Stage 4 steering. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated persons are discouraged from visiting eating places, outlets, and journey until needed, and mustn’t take part in any indoor and out of doors occasions.
Austin has tried to implement its personal stricter guidelines twice in the course of the pandemic to date and needed to take care of Texas. First, the state sued town 3 times over New Yr’s Eve restrictions, and the case was ultimately dismissed within the spring. Then, Austin continued to require masks and social distancing after Abbott lifted all COVID restrictions in March, to which Texas Legal professional Gen. Ken Paxton filed a suit that was dismissed.
These precedents will make it practically inconceivable for town and county to impose inflexible mandates to curtail the unfold of the delta variant.