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San Antonio

Gov. Abbott Says He Won't Fight Bexar County's Order To Require Businesses To Enforce Mask Policy

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Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff prepare before a COVID-19 briefing.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued an executive order Wednesday morning that will require commercial entities to implement a face mask policy within five calendar days. The order includes businesses within the City of San Antonio.

Employees and visitors must wear face masks within 6 feet of each other, and signs must be posted in conspicuous locations. There will be a $1,000 fine for each violation.

Wolff said peace officers will issue citations for violations and officers will respond to public complaints about a business. Sheriff Javier Salazar said peace officers are hoping for voluntary compliance, and business owners will be warned before receiving citations.

Gov. Greg Abbott has urged Texans to voluntarily wear masks and follow other COVID-19 protocols, but local leaders and leaders of other major Texas cities wrote the governor to say voluntary compliance was not working and cases were soaring.

"I think I found a ground that’s going to help a lot and I’m just so pleased that the governor opened an avenue to do this," said Wolff.

District Attorney Joe Gonzales said state law allows the county judge to issue executive orders that can control the movement of people within the county.

A spokesperson from the governor's office wrote in a statement, "Judge Wolff’s order is not inconsistent with the Governor’s executive order."

There were 436 new COVID-19 cases reported in Bexar County on Tuesday, the highest one-day increase since the outbreak began.

The next phase of reopenings takes effect Friday, allowing amusement parks and carnivals in counties with more than 1,000 confirmed cases to reopen at 50% capacity.

San Antonio’s two largest amusement parks, Six Flags-Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld, plan to open this Friday.

A statement from the City of San Antonio says people with questions about the order can call (210) 335-2626.

Bexar County Executive Order by Texas Public Radio on Scribd

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.

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