Harris County, Texas — April 22, 2020 — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Wednesday issued an order requiring residents to wear masks when in public for the next 30 days, beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020 and will continue until May 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm. The order requires individuals over the age of 10 to wear a face covering, which can be a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief, when outside the home. Medical masks or N-95 respirators are not recommended as they are needed for health-care workers and first responders.
Masks should cover the nose and mouth, and must be worn except when an individual is exercising or engaging in physical activity outside alone; alone in a separate indoor or outdoor space; eating or drinking; when driving; or when doing so poses a threat to their health, mental health, or safety. Masks are not required when an individual is in the presence of only members of their residence.
“When it comes to fighting this virus, each of us is capable of committing heroic acts by making adjustments in how we live our daily life,” said Judge Hidalgo. “Steps like wearing a face covering, getting tested, and staying home save lives and reduce transmissions, which will get our economy back online sooner. I’m heartened by the number of residents who have already been following guidance to wear face coverings already, but we are in this for the long haul. The best way to get our economy back up and running again – and keep it open – is by making sure we’re working together to prevent the spread of this virus. Wearing face coverings is a vital piece of our playbook.”
The order comes as an uptick in hospital admissions indicates the region has not yet reached the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak. During the past week, the county has doubled its testing capacity and dispatched mobile testing units to all four precincts.
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Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing because these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
Failure to wear a mandatory face covering under this Order is punishable by up to $1,000.