This city in Texas is ordering business to require face masks or face fine

AUSTIN, Texas -- After seeking the ability to legally require face coverings to help curb a second surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Austin Mayor Steve Adler signed an order June 17 that requires all employees and customers on commercial properties to wear face masks. The new order is enforceable by a $1,000 fine and extends through Aug. 15.

The breakthrough in enforcement of coronavirus mitigation measures comes one day after Adler and mayors from eight major cities across Texas sent Gov. Greg Abbott a letter asking permission to enforce a face covering mandate. Abbott previously said government could not force individuals to wear face coverings, only to strongly encourage the act.

SEE ALSO: Texas' big-city mayors ask Gov. Greg Abbott for power to impose face mask rules

On June 17, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff found a way around Abbott and signed an order requiring employees and customers to wear face coverings while inside a business, similarly punishable by a $1,000 fine. Abbott said he agreed with Wolff's interpretation of the state orders.

"Judge Wolff's order is not inconsistent with the Governor's executive order," said John Wittman, a spokesman for Abbott told The Texas Tribune. "Our office urges officials and the public to adopt and follow the health protocols for businesses established by doctors."

In a June 17 interview with a Waco news station, Abbott said Bexar County's judge "finally figured out" what state officials have been saying: Governments cannot force individuals to wear masks but can require masks to be worn in businesses. Adler called Abbott's comments "pretty incredible."

This content was provided by our partners at Community Impact Newspaper.

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