Based on a press statement from the mayor's office, due to a decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate and more manageable hospitalizations, the face-covering requirement for city employees and visitors to city buildings has been dropped.
"Over the past few months, City employees have worked diligently to create a safe and healthy environment in our municipal buildings. Because of their selfless actions, fewer employees are getting sick and are showing up to work and providing city services to the public," said Mayor Turner. "However, I strongly encourage people who are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised to wear a face-covering while entering or upon City premises, but doing so is not required."
This new guidance comes on the same day Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo lowered the COVID-19 threat level to Orange.
There are certain exceptions to this, as the release also states those who are not fully vaccinated are still encouraged to wear masks.
"Any person, whether fully vaccinated or not, may choose to wear a face covering," the press release reads. "In addition, we strongly encourage people who are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised to wear a face-covering while entering or upon City premises, but doing so is not required."
We're told Houston's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Persse agreed with this decision. In a letter to city employees, Dr. Persse said:
"As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, it's important to remember vaccines provide remarkable protection against severe illness and help reduce spread. When the level of virus in the community is low, and the number of people vaccinated is high, the overall risk for everyone decreases. This means it's comparatively safe for most of us to no longer wear masks in all settings. However, people with compromised immune systems should consider continuing to mask up in public indoor places. Those who are not yet vaccinated should consider it as soon as possible and continue to take all precautions."