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Masks Mandatory in Nueces County, Corpus Christi

Face masks will be mandatory in most businesses in Nueces County and the city of Corpus Christi starting midnight Friday, July 26, and continuing until Friday, July 10.

CORRECTION: The USS Lexington is not considered a government facility in this order. Masks are not mandatory at the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.

A mandatory mask order goes into effect in Nueces County at midnight Friday, June 26, and continues until July 10. Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales plans to file the order June 23, she announced in a video statement late Monday, June 22. The judge worked on the order over the weekend while in self-quarantine after being exposed to a Nueces County employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

Canales cited Gov. Greg Abbott, who held his own media conference Monday about the doubling of COVID-19 cases in the state over the past week, in explaining her decision to mandate masks in some businesses and in all non-federal government buildings.

“Today, Governor Abbott said COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate and must be corralled,” Canales said. “I agree with that.”

While the governor did not mandate masks statewide, he did allow for municipalities to do so, a step Canales said would keep people healthy and businesses open.

“We recognize the need to balance freedom, especially personal freedom, but we know these measure works,” she said. “Masks protect those wearing them and the people around them. Bottom line is that masks help businesses operate more safely, and if they can operate more safely, they can stay open.”

Main highlights of the order cover the following:

• face masks are required for those ages 10 years and older and must cover both the nose and the mouth;

• masks are required inside any state-, county-, or city-owned or -operated facility within Nueces County unless social distancing of at least 6 feet apart (excepting family members) is possible;

• government facilities included in the mandatory mask order are libraries, museums (not including USS Lexington Museum on the Bay), community centers, and senior centers;

• also included are facilities of the Port of Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Nueces County Hospital District, appraisal district, Corpus Christi Independent School District administrative offices, the airport, and all water and drainage district offices;

• as well as public transportation, taxis, and ride share vehicles;

• and facial coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or handkerchiefs.

Business included as mandatory for mask wearing are:

• Texas State Aquarium

• grocery stores

• pharmacies

• big-box stores such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy, The Home Depot and Lowe's

• shopping malls and all stores within a shopping mall

Masks are recommended but not mandatory for all commercial entities not listed above, including:

• places of worship

• retail stores

• restaurants, bars

• water parks

• medical offices

• law offices

• business offices

• gyms

Masks are not required for those with medicals conditions that would make it unsafe.

Also included in the order, businesses must post at entrances and exits a health and safety plan. Details and fines are included in the order as well. However, no civil or criminal penalties will be imposed on anyone failing to wear a face covering.

Businesses can be fined $1,000 per violation.

“In the strongest terms possible, it is recommended that Nueces County residents continue to maintain social distancing of at least six feet of separation from all others (indoors and outdoors),” reads Item 8 of the order. “Face coverings do not need to be worn when engaging in outdoor activity, riding alone or with members of the same household in a personal vehicle, or when consuming food or drink. Face coverings do not need to be worn when social distancing of at least six feet is observed.”

Canales signed the order late Monday after the county health department reported 109 new COVID-19 cases for that day. The total number of cases now stands at 742. Of those, 28 are currently in the hospital with 11 in intensive care. Six have died, three of them in the past week.

“I believe this order balances the health and safety of our citizens and the need to keep our economy open,” Canales said in her video message. “By making it mandatory for these types of businesses, it makes it fair for all businesses.”

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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There are 4 comments.

Rj G —
The self righteous, entitled population made this happen. You couldnt be bothered to be slightly inconvenienced for the health and safety of others so leadership had to do it for you. Now you will actually be held personally responsible. Empathy in America is dead and THATS what will bring this country down. Your pitiful whining about having to wear a mask for others safety just boldly demonstrates the fragility of your selfish character. In short, the simple act of wearing a mask could save many lives but no, you think THIS impedes your freedom although you can still do whatever you want. Here i thought Corpus loved the military yet half of you disgrace the name of what theyve sacrificed for.
john —
I hear the marching feet headed to the streets.....
Txphin —
More overreaction and paranoia. We’re getting closer and closer to becoming like China who wears mask all most year round.
Steven Boyle —
So the Republic is dead. No votes, no debates, no personal responsibility. Mandated "law" devised by a single person in their view of what's best for everyone. Welcome to the land of the free, now do what you're told.

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