EL PASO, Texas — El Paso City and County officials issued a directive Thursday night mandating that businesses require all customers as well as employees to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The face mask requirement will take effect come 12:01 a.m. on Monday and business that don't comply can be fined up to $500 for each violation.
The directive comes one day after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he would allow local authorities to adopt and enforce health policies for businesses that include face-covering requirements.
“The amended local directive to include the face covering requirement will ensure the safety of our community members,” said Mayor Dee Margo in a statement. "Health officials report that a face covering, that protects the nose and mouth, can help slow the spread of the virus."
The mayor indicated he also felt face masks were necessary given that infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others who may become seriously ill.
Margo explained that the face mask requirement ensures El Paso can "continue re-opening our economy in a judicious and proactive manner, while balancing public health and our economy."
Officials said the following key elements were included in the new directive:
- All businesses must require employees, including volunteers, to have a face covering when either in an area or performing an activity where six feet of separation from others is not feasible.
- All businesses must require visitors, to include customers, contractors and vendors, to wear face coverings while on the business’s premises.
- Gyms and exercise establishments must require all individuals inside of the business establishment to wear a face covering at all times except for when an individual is actively engaging in exercise.
The full details contained in the face mask order are posted below.