On August 14th, the City of Austin and Travis County extended their “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe” orders through December 15, 2020. The previous orders were set to expire on August 15, 2020. City health officials continue to encourage Austin-Travis county residents to practice social distancing, good hygiene, and face-covering behaviors. In addition to hygiene guidelines, the orders state that social gatherings up to 10 people should be avoided or minimized, and socializing in groups of 10+ individuals outside of the same household are prohibited.
The City of Austin order extends all deadlines and expiration dates for city site plans, subdivisions, zoning, building permits, and similar development applications or permits until March 15, 2021, or the date they would have normally expired, whichever is later. It also updates its nursing home standards to comply with new state guidelines allowing for some visitation of certain nursing homes.
As schools reopen campuses across the state, the City of Austin’s order stipulates each school must follow a phased-in approach based on risk-based stages, unless that were to result in a loss of funding from the Texas Education Agency. Those stages include 100% virtual learning at Stage 5, up to 25% on-campus learning at Stage 4, up to 50% on-campus learning at Stage 3, up to 75% on-campus learning at Stage 2 and up to 100% on-campus learning at Stage 1. Austin is currently in Stage 4 of its COVID-19 response.
In addition to the extended orders, the Austin-Travis County Health Authority adopted updated emergency rules, which took effect on August 14th and are set to expire on November 12, 2020. The updated rules include Austin Public Health’s guidance for school reopenings. This document is designed to help school boards and administrators understand what they can do to keep students and staff safe as the school year begins. These strong recommendations are not rules or orders, nor do they state that they are legally binding. Austin Public Health’s guidance may be updated throughout the school year as new information becomes available. For more information, APH has created a “schools and education” page on its COVID-19 website.
City and County COVID-19 Websites:
Please note: This article and any resources presented on the JW Coronavirus Insights & Resources site are for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal or medical advice, and are not a substitute for legal advice from qualified counsel. The laws of other states and nations may be entirely different from what is described. Your use of these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Jackson Walker. The facts and results of each case will vary, and no particular result can be guaranteed.