Austin-Travis County is in Stage 4

Austin Public Health (APH) has published a color-coded chart to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

APH is currently exploring the most effective indicators to help determine the level of risk in the local community. Provisional triggers are being modeled based on the number of hospitalizations because of their general correlation with numbers of cases, use of ventilators, deaths, and availability of effective treatment and vaccination.

View a color chart of risk-based guidelines in PDF format in the following languages: 

English | Español  |  Tiếng Việt  |  中文 (简体)  |  中文 (繁體)  | 한국어 |  Burmese  |  اُردُو‎‎ |  العربية

Color-blind friendly chart of guidelines

The new risk-based guidelines set out five distinct stages of risk, from the lowest threat, Stage 1, through the most serious, Stage 5, along with recommended behaviors for each stage.

For lower-risk individuals, defined as those with no substantial underlying health conditions who have a lower risk of complication and death from COVID-19, the recommendations are as follows:

Stage 1: Practice good hygiene, stay home if sick, and avoid other people who are sick. APH is working on recommendations for maximum sizes of gatherings. Individuals are advised they are safe to return to work at all businesses.
Stage 2: Includes the recommendations for Stage 1 and adds: Maintain social distancing and wear fabric face coverings in public. Individuals are urged to avoid dining and shopping except with precautions, and to avoid gathering in groups of more than 25 people. They are advised they are safe to return to work at essential and reopened businesses.
Stage 3: Includes the recommendations for Stage 2 and also urges individuals to avoid all social gatherings, and any gatherings of more than 10 people.
Stage 4: Includes the recommendations for Stage 3 and advises individuals they are safe to return to work, and dine and shop, only at “expanded essential businesses.” 
Stage 5: Includes the recommendations for Stage 4 and urges individuals to avoid all gatherings outside of the household and avoid dining and shopping except as essential. In this stage it is considered safe to return to work at essential businesses only.


Additional protective measures are recommended for people at higher risk, namely those aged over 65 or people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, obesity, or those who are otherwise immunocompromised.

For example, higher-risk individuals are urged to avoid dining and shopping except with precautions, and avoid gatherings of more than 25 people, even at the lowest level, Stage 1. As the stages progress from 1 through 4, higher-risk individuals are advised to limit the size of their gatherings, and their dining and shopping, to a greater extent than lower-risk individuals. However, by Stage 5, all individuals are advised to limit their activities and exposure to the same degree, whatever the condition of their health.