Mayor's Office PRess Release

Following Decline in COVID-19 Positivity Rate, City of Houston Suspends Indoor Mask Policy for Employees and Visitors in Municipal Buildings

February 24, 2022 -- Following a significant decline in the COVID-19 positivity rate and improvement in other key metrics, city of Houston employees and visitors to municipal buildings are no longer required to wear face coverings indoors, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Turner's suspension of A.P. 3-39, Access to City Buildings or Facilities During a Medical Epidemic or Pandemic, is effective immediately and covers more than 20,000 municipal employees. Certain employees will continue to wear face coverings when interacting with patients.

"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."

The decision to drop the face-covering requirement in municipal buildings has the support of Dr. David Persse, the city's Chief Medical Officer.

In a letter to city employees, Dr. Persse wrote, "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."

The Houston Health Department offers dozens of free vaccination and testing sites across Houston. Testing and vaccination is free and does not require proof of residency or insurance. Find a nearby free site at houstonhealth.org or by calling 832-393-4220.