Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott issued an Executive Order requiring ALL Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in public spaces, with a few exceptions, according to release on Thursday.
In counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, all individuals must wear face coverings effective July 3 at 12:01 p.m.
The order effects both Nueces and Kleberg Counties because their numbers are over the 20 case mark.
"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in the release. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces.”
According to the order, these are exceptions to the order:
- Any person younger than 10 years of age;
- any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- any person who is eating or drinking, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
- any person exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;
- any person driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
- any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal-care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;
- any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water;
- any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
- any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged; or
- any person giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience.
A person not excepted from wearing a face covering, according to the order “is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household.”
Any violations of the order, following a verbal or written warning for the first offense, is subject to a fine not to exceed $250, according to the order. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.
The order does, however, prohibit jail time as a punishment for those who violate the order.
According to the release, the Gov. also issued a proclomation giving mayors and county judges the “ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.”
Abbott said “large gatherings are a clear contributor” to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe,” Abbott said. “We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”
At Monday’s Kleberg County Commissioners meeting, Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid extended the county’s Face Covering Order for another 30 days, which will end on July 29 at 11:59 p.m.
The order can be “extended, modified, or terminated,” according to the order.
Madrid said because cases in the last three days, were more than the amount in the county over the last two months, so extending the order “is in the best interest of the community.”
”We have to continue to remain vigilant, and we have to continue to follow CDC guidelines,” Madrid said on Monday.
Details of the order are in the original story posted from last week, which is below.
Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid officially signed an order to require individuals to wear face masks while working or entering a business within the county limits on Monday afternoon.
Madrid said the order will be in effect for 10 days, beginning at 11:59 tonight and lasting until July 2, “unless extended, modified, or terminated.”
The order is a safety measure “to protect all citizens in Kleberg County,” Madrid said, as he and the commissioners continue to find ways to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Madrid said he understands the frustrations of some residents in the county, but he said the order was needed as active positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the county.
According to the order, all commercial entities in the county providing goods and services to the public “must develop and implement a health a safety policy” which must require, at minimum, that all employees and visitors wear face coverings when in an area “where six feet of separation is not feasible.”
The notice must be posted where employees and visitors can see the policy.
All individuals 10 years or older “shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public,” when social distancing is not possible, according to the order.
Face coverings include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or a handkerchief.
According to the order, face coverings do not need to be worn:
When exercising outside, engaging in physical activity outside, or inside a workout facility;
While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk;
While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment;
While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening for example, banks; or
When consuming food or drink, for example, when inside a restaurant, in a drive-thru or other beverage or dining facilities.
Any extension of the order will be decided at a later date, Madrid said.