Mask order in effect until end of month

An Amended Emergency Management Order mandating that all businesses in Cameron County require customers and employees to wear mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 will remain in effect until June 30.

However, the order could be extended or terminated before the end of the month.

The order signed Wednesday by County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr., which took affect Friday also stated businesses should develop and implement a Health and Safety Policy that includes the usage of face masks and could also include temperature checks and health screenings.

According to the order, these policies must be posted in a visible location that both employees and customers can view. A failure to implement Health and Safety policy within five calendar days following the effective date may result in businesses being fined for each violation.

Cameron County has experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases within the past few weeks. As of Thursday afternoon, the county reported 1,301 coronavirus cases and 47 COVID-19 related deaths.

The order requires that all people over the age of 10 years or older wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place, especially when it is difficult to social distance. Face coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or a handkerchief. The order also states county residents should continue to maintain social distancing practices while outside their homes.

There are a few instances where face coverings are not required that include when people are exercising or engaging in physical activities outdoors, driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver, when doing so poses a greater mental health or physical health safety or security risk, pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment, in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening such as banks, and when consuming food or drink.

In addition, the order states that any peace officer or other person with lawful authority is authorized to enforce the provisions of the Amended Emergency Management Order.

The increase of COVID-19 cases in Texas prompted an online petition requesting that H-E-B stores across the state require their customers wear face mask while shopping.

As of Thursday afternoon, 44,335 individuals had signed the petition.

The latest figures from Texas Health and Human Services indicate Texas has 96,335 COVID-19 cases and 2,062 fatalities. An estimated 62,368 people have recovered from coronavirus with 31,905 active cases.

lmartinez@brownsvilleherald.com