On Wednesday, April 22, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she will sign an executive order to require anyone 10 and older to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when they are outside of their home. This order is effective this Monday, April 27 and will last 30 days. Those found in violation of the order could face a fine of up to $1000 and 180 days in jail.
Residents must cover their faces at all times except when exercising, eating or drinking; the exemptions also include when individuals are alone, at home with roommates or family or when wearing a mask poses a greater risk to security, mental or physical health.
Essential businesses must provide face coverings/training to workers whose jobs require them to come into contact with colleagues or the public.
A medical grade mask is not required and permitted garments include a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief.
Leadership from other surrounding counties including Montgomery County and Galveston County have since publicly said that they will not follow suit and will not require residents to wear face masks.
Collectively, all local municipalities are waiting for more direction from Governor Abbott who will make an announcement on Monday, April 27, concerning state-wide plans to “reopen” the economy. Stay tuned for more information from the GHBA. We will provide a summary of his plans following Monday’s announcement.