Baytown police will not be enforcing the wearing of masks, according to the mayor.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo had signed an order declaring all businesses in Harris County must require employees and customers to wear face coverings. It went into effect June 22, and the county commissioners voted to extend the order until Aug. 26 on Tuesday.
In April, when Hidalgo signed her first mask order, Mayor Brandon Capetillo said police would not be enforcing the mask rule in Baytown. He reiterated the point after Hidalgo’s latest order as well as Gov. Greg Abbott saying cities and counties could impose penalties on those not wearing a mask.
“As per Governor Greg Abbott’s and Judge Lina Hidalgo’s most recent executive orders, the City of Baytown encourages our citizens to take every precautionary measure to include the use of face coverings in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” Capetillo said. “However, the city will not and is prohibited from imposing any penalty for non-compliance.”
Capetillo added businesses are “not precluded from requiring customers to follow additional hygiene measures when obtaining services.”
“Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings, but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear face coverings as per Governor Abbott’s most recent executive order,” Capetillo said. “No city resources have been dedicated regarding the enforcement activities of these executive orders nor has any resources been provided by the county or state. The City of Baytown has not been approached, engaged, or directed to play a role in the enforcement of these executive orders.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services said as of Tuesday, 6,975 new cases were reported, totaling 159,986 cases. Out of that count, 72,744 are considered active. In addition, 2.1 million people have been tested for COVID-19 with a positivity rate of 14.03%.