EL PASO, Texas — Face coverings are once again mandated in El Paso County, local leaders announced Thursday night.
Officials cited a continued rise in cases as the county prepares to reopen some businesses on order of Governor Greg Abbott. That order takes effect Friday at 12 a.m.
The new announcement came on the City of El Paso’s twitter page which read:
“Due to the ongoing upward trend in positive cases, Mayor Dee Margo, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego & Health Authority Dr. Ocaranza are amending the current Local Emergency Directive to make face coverings mandatory and prohibit all social gatherings outside or inside a household.
All individuals over the age of 2, are to wear some form of face covering over their nose and mouth, while outside of their home or residence. A face covering may include cloth masks, cloth fabric coverings, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters.
A face covering is not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or exercising outdoors and not within 6 feet of any other individual not from the same household.“
KTSM reached out to city officials who said the mandate regarding face masks is not enforceable, per the governor’s office.
However, City Spokesperson Laura Cruz-Acosta said the mandate gives businesses a way to stop patrons from entering their stores without coverings should they wish to.
“We are asking the community to please do their civic duty and wear a face mask,” Cruz-Acosta told KTSM.
Cruz-Acosta said the rule banning social gatherings is enforceable with violators facing potential penalties.
She said both the face covering mandate and ban on gatherings will last until at least May 17.