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Austin Restaurants Are No Longer Required to Display COVID-19 Signage

The new rule for dining establishments comes as the city of Austin and Travis County lifted all of its coronavirus measures

A sign behind a cafe window reading “Notice” and COVID-19 measures.
A COVID-19 checklist sign at Merit Coffee in Austin.
Nadia Chaudhury/Eater Austin
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

The City of Austin and Travis County lifted all of its COVID-19-related measures as of Wednesday, March 23, due to very low numbers of cases and hospitalizations in the area.

For restaurants, this means they no longer have to keep COVID-19-related signage up at entrances, from the checklist indicating which measures are being followed on-site (from face mask requirements to whether the businesses are requiring staffers to be vaccinated) to the sign asking people to wear masks and get vaccinated/boosted.

Likewise, there are no longer any mask requirements for Austin buildings or public schools, though there are a few exceptions, including airports, due to the federal mandate.

“We have not eliminated the virus, but adapted to it,” says Dr. Desmar Walkes, the Austin-Travis County Health Authority, in a release. It did note that public health officials are still asking high-risk people and people who care for high-risk people to wear masks indoors.

After the omicron surge in December 2021 and January 2022, the city’s COVID numbers quickly de-escalated from Stage 4 to Stage 2 of its coronavirus risk-based guidelines within the span of nine days. These still-in-place recommendations (not mandates) ask partially vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and high-risk vaccinated people to still mask in most scenarios, including inside restaurants and bars when not eating and drinking.

As of March 22, the weekly average of new hospital admissions is five, and Travis County’s positivity rate was 3.7 percent. With the lifting of these coronavirus requirements, the city will enact a new COVID-19 tracker to better reflect the state of the virus in the area.