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Bell commissioners strip face mask requirement from county judge’s order

Bell County Commissioners voted Monday to amend a directive that ordered businesses in the county to require employees and customers to wear face masks, choosing instead to “strongly encourage” businesses to follow the guidance. (File)
Bell County Commissioners voted Monday to amend a directive that ordered businesses in the county to require employees and customers to wear face masks, choosing instead to “strongly encourage” businesses to follow the guidance. (File)(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 11:10 AM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Bell County Commissioners voted Monday to amend a directive Bell County Judge David Blackburn issued last Wednesday that ordered all businesses to require the use of face coverings by employees, customers, contractors and vendors on premises where physical distancing isn’t possible, choosing instead to “strongly encourage” businesses to follow the guidance.

The order requiring face masks, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, had provided for a fine of as much as $1,000 for businesses that failed to require the masks.

Blackburn said on Wednesday he didn’t issue the directive lightly, but said it was necessary to stem a significant increase in positive tests for the virus.

The Bell County Health District was reporting 1,022 confirmed cases of the virus Monday.

At least 377 patients have recovered and 12 have died.

At the time the order was issued, 79% of the 1,027 staffed hospital beds in the state Trauma Service region that includes Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam and Mills counties were occupied and only 13 intensive care beds were available.

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