Fort Bend and Harris counties’ judges have extended their local orders requiring all businesses and commercial entities to have all employees and visitors wear face coverings while visiting …
Fort Bend and Harris counties’ judges have extended their local orders requiring all businesses and commercial entities to have all employees and visitors wear face coverings while visiting their premises. Fort Bend County’s order has been extended through July 31, while Harris County’s has been extended through Aug. 26, according to separate statements from each county.
Fort Bend County Judge KP George and the Fort Bend County Commissioners’ Court opted to extend the order in a special June 30 meeting. The orders applies to all commercial entities with a physical location currently providing goods and services directly to the public. Both counties are requiring masks in government buildings as well. The requirement applies to most people age 10 and older in both counties. Each county has exceptions that can be found in their respective orders.
George said his decision was based on data, science and community input.
“We are all in this together and if we continue doing our part, we will succeed in beating the coronavirus without the Governor of Texas forcing lockdowns or other extreme measures,” said George. “Let's work together to slow the spread by taking comparatively easy precautions to protect each other and our loved ones. We must continue making decisions that unequivocally put people above politics and protect human life.”
All Fort Bend commercial entities are encouraged to provide face coverings including masks to visitors unable to provide their own covering, as financial limitations will allow that business to do so.
Several speakers voiced support for wearing face coverings while in public during Fort Bend County’s Special Commissioners’ Court meeting on June 30.
“From our role of being the largest provider of food and groceries in the state of Texas, in the greater Houston area, and in Fort Bend County, my primary goal is to keep my employees and our customers safe,” said HEB President Scott McClelland. “We have an opportunity here to choose life. If we don’t choose life, one of the things we’re going to find is that we will be deemed by history harshly in terms of our responsibility to manage our way through the Coronavirus.”
Medical experts also spoke in support of local orders requiring face coverings.
“Universal masking is probably one of the only chances we have to reopen and not put peoples’ lives at risk. All or nothing is not an option. We can open up the economy safely with masks. It is the lowest cost-effective measure we have,” said Sapna Singh of the Fort Bend Medical Society.
Harris County sample health and safety policies can be found here.
Violating the orders could lead to a $500 fine in Fort Bend County and a $1,000 fine in Harris County, though law enforcement has said their focus will remain on education rather than issuing citations.