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Mandatory Mask Order Issued Statewide

If everyone wears a face covering, businesses will be able to stay open and people will stay safe from the spread of COVID-19, said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Screen capture image

Wearing a face mask is now mandatory in Texas counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, announced Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, July 2. Mayor and county judges were also given the authority to impose restrictions on outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people. Even within the small groups, people must maintain 6 feet of distance from each other, according to the new order.

The first violation of the standard will be a warning. Subsequent violations will incur a penalty not to exceed $250. Violators may not be jailed, according to the order. Enforcement will resemble seat belt standards.

“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. “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.”

He cited large gatherings as contributors to the rapid spread of the disease in Texas.

“Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe,” Abbott continued. “We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.”

In a video message, Abbott said the mask order was in place of closing down businesses, as he did with orders in April.

“We want to refocus on slowing the spread,” he said.

“This time, we want to do it without closing down Texas again.”

The two danger zones set up as triggers for stricter measures have been happened, he said. First, the daily number of COVID-19 cases quadrupled over the past week. Next, the positivity rate, the rate of positive tests versus the number tested, increased from 4.5 percent in May to more than 14 percent on July 2.

The governor presented a chart showing the rise in hospitalizations, which averaged fewer than 1,700 a day in May. In the past week, that number tripled to more than 5,700 hospitalizations a day.

The spikes are not limited to the big cities either. More than 91 counties have had record high numbers in the past three days.

“Altogether, these numbers reveal a very stark reality,” Abbott said. “COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, it’s getting worse.”

Action is needed by everyone until treatments are available, he continued, asking Texans to stay at home. He emphatically stated that he was not issuing a stay-at-home order but was asking people to do so if possible. He also said that those who could work from home should do so.

“Not taking action to slow the spread will allow COVID to spread even worse, risking people’s lives and closing more businesses,” Abbott said.

Early successes allowed people to think the coast was clear and that they could relax, the governor noted.

“Today, COVID is spreading like never before,” he said. “We are now at a point where it is spreading so fast, there is little margin for error. If we want to avoid lockdown, we need everyone to join the effort.”

To follow the latest news on COVID-19 in Corpus Christi, check the Corpus Christi Business News' COVID-19 Resource Page.

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