Local mayor issues order mandating use of face masks in commercial buildings
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Mayor Jose L. Segarra on Wednesday issued a local disaster declaration that mandates the use of face masks in all commercial buildings where social distancing is not possible during the coronavirus pandemic.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 2, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on July 21, 2020.
The order applies to all employees, visitors and customers who are not able to keep a distance of at least six feet from each other while inside a commercial building.
Businesses that fail to enforce the order could be fined as much as $1,000.
“The transmission of COVID-19 continues to grow in our city,” the mayor said.
“This action is necessary, popular or not, to help protect the health and safety of our citizens to help keep this virus from spreading in our community,” he said.
Segara issued the order two days after Bell County commissioners approved a less stringent order that says residents should wear face masks in public places and businesses should develop plans to stem the spread of COVID-19, but that provided no penalties for failure to do so.
Segarra said face masks are not required when exercising inside a gym and there is enough distance between people working out.
The mayor said churches are not considered commercial businesses and should continue to follow the governor’s social distancing guidance.
“I believe this is a small thing we can all do in order to mitigate the spread of this virus so that we could go back to living our daily lives as close as possible,” Segarra said.
The mayor said he decided to issue the order after he met with members of Killeen’s senior citizen community.
“A lot of them here are veterans and a lot of them say wearing a mask is not much of a sacrifice - and they should know,” the mayor said.
The cities of Waco, Hewitt, Woodway and Mart issued orders similar to Killeen’s earlier.
McLennan County commissioners, however, also rejected an order that provided for potential fines for businesses that do no require face masks.
Bell County reported a record 128 new cases of the virus Tuesday, raising the county’s total to 1,209.
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