The Round Rock City Council voted Thursday, April 8, to repeal the face covering ordinance effective 11:59 p.m. Thursday, April 22. The vote was 7-0, and Councilmembers also voted unanimously to dispense with second reading of the ordinance so the action is final.
The City Council initially approved the emergency ordinance on face coverings on June 29, 2020, to help limit the spread of COVID-19. At that time, infection rates and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 were increasing. The emergency ordinance was readopted four times, most recently on Feb. 25, when it was extended through April 29.
Mayor Craig Morgan noted that as of Thursday, April 8, more than 21 percent of Williamson County adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The expected number of county residents fully vaccinated has increased to 33 percent of those over the age of 16 and 65 percent over the age of 65 by the end of April. As of March 29, everyone age 16 and older became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.
Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 have remained around 5 percent in the region.
The Mayor noted the City’s actions related to COVID-19 were voted on by the entire City Council, not through a disaster declaration by a single elected official.
“This Council has done its best to be consistent and follow our charter,” Morgan said. “Was it perfect? No. But this Council has done its best with the information available to us to do the best thing for Round Rock.”
Morgan and other Councilmembers asked the public to be respectful of businesses and individuals as they make choices about masks.
“If a businesses chooses to make you wear mask, please respect them and wear a mask,” Morgan said. “Our businesses need us. I also ask you to respect your neighbors who choose to wear a mask and those who don’t.”
The ordinance in effect until April 22 requires individuals over the age of 10 to wear face coverings when not able to maintain 6 feet social distancing both inside public or commercial buildings and outdoors, except in the following cases:
- When you cannot maintain 6 feet of social distance
- When exercising or engaging in physical activity
- When in a building or participating in an activity that requires security surveillance or screening, such as banks
- While consuming food or drink
- When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
- When outside with a group of only members of a single household
- When other mitigation strategy, such as plexiglass, provides adequate separation
The ordinance in effect until April 22 also requires businesses to display a notice of the requirement.