In response to the spiking number of coronavirus cases in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask Order that goes into effect on Friday, July 3, 2020, at 12:01 P.M.
What It Says:
The order requires Texans 10 years and older to wear facial coverings over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor spaces when social distancing is not an option. As with the local Orders in Bryan, College Station, and Brazos County, there are some exceptions.
The Order permits exemptions for facial coverings:
- If the person is under 10 years old;
- If you have a medical condition that does not allow for wearing a mask;
- If you are eating or drinking, or when seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
- If you are exercising outdoors and maintaining appropriate social distancing;
- When driving alone in your car or with someone in your household;
- When obtaining a service that requires removal of the mask for security screening;
- When in a lake, swimming pool, or similar body of water;
- When voting, assisting a voter, or poll watching;
- When actively providing or receiving religious worship;
- When giving a speech to an audience or for broadcast purposes; and
- If the person is in a county exempted from the requirement (see below) AND the County Judge of the county has requested the exemption
The Order is statewide, but Counties with fewer than 20 ACTIVE cases can choose to opt-out. As of this writing, Brazos County has more than 20 active cases and will be required to comply.
Consequences of the Order:
For first time offenders of this Order, an oral warning will be issued. A second violation and all subsequent violations are subject to a fine of up to $250.
The Order does not allow jail time as a consequence for violations. Law enforcement is encouraged to enforce this order, but it is NOT permitted to arrest, detain, or jail someone for violating this order or for non-violent, non-felony offenses predicated on this Order. In other words, violation of the mask order is a ticket-only offense for which you cannot be arrested, but if you commit a violent or felony offense, you can be arrested for that.
Additionally, law enforcement can enforce trespassing laws and remove violators of this Order from the premises at the request of the business or property owner.
Additional Information in This Order:
The Order also reduces the maximum size of outdoor gatherings from 100 people to 10. Should a group or organization want more than 10 people, they must get approval from local officials. This part of the Order also goes into effect at 12:01 P.M. on Friday, July 3, 2020.