ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Round Rock City Council issued a new order on June 29 making face masks mandatory for residents and those in businesses. This comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have continued to spike across Texas.
The new order will be in effect for 60 days, starting on June 30 at 11:59 p.m. through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 28. Those who do not wear masks will be fined, but the first offenses will only get a warning.
Everyone within Round Rock 10 years old or older must wear a face mask over their mouth and nose when inside a "commercial entity" or other public building where it is difficult to keep 6 feet away from others or when residents are outside with a group of people and it is difficult to maintain social distancing from others in the group.
The face mask requirement does not apply to the following situations, according to the city:
- During exercise or physical activity
- When in a building that requires security surveillance or screening, such as banks
- While eating or drinking
- When wearing a mask posses a "greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk"
- When outside with a group of members from a single household
- "When other mitigation strategy such as plexiglass provides adequate separation"
Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan joined KVUE Daybreak on June 30 to talk about the new mask order. Morgan said the council knew it was time to create the ordinance.
"We had been watching it closely, monitoring it since the governor allowed us to implement this on businesses' work, making them require employees and customers to wear masks," Morgan said. "You know, the council at the time just didn't feel like that that was appropriate for us to push this onto our business community. And so we had an emergency meeting yesterday and adopted an emergency ordinance requiring businesses to post signs that a mask is required and also required individuals to wear masks in public places when they can't separate by 6 feet. So, it's a comprehensive plan. It was done under our charter, which is voted on by our citizens. And so we feel like this doesn't conflict with what the governor has said."
When it comes to enforcing the order, Morgan told KVUE's Bryan Mays there will be a warning the first time, and then fines can escalate up to $1,000 for anyone that violates the order.
The order will be in effect for 60 days, and the mayor said the council will keep an eye on several things to determine if the order could end early.
"You know, we'll monitor several things. I mean, the main things are the hospitalizations and the positivity rate. Those are two key components that we continue to monitor," Morgan said. "But we don't want to shut down this ordinance for the health of our citizens and the health of our economy."
As of Monday morning, there have been a total of 2,019 coronavirus cases in Williamson County with more than 1,000 cases still active. More than 800 people in the county have recovered from the virus, and 35 people have died.
Travis and Hays counties also issued mask orders on June 18. The Travis County order states that all businesses that provide goods or services to the public must create and implement a "health and safety policy." These policies must require that people in the business must wear face coverings when in areas where 6 feet of separation is not possible. The order in Hays County is similar but does not implement a fine for violations.
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