EL PASO, Texas -- On the first day of the Health Authority's new indoor mask mandate to battle Covid-19, the city of El Paso discovered not everyone was aware of the new regulations.
As a result, city officials announced Wednesday that they would be instituting door-to-door visits to enforce the mandate at businesses.
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Public health workers will go around visiting businesses, like big box stores for example, to inform them of the requirement and ensure they are cooperating.
Health Department Director Angela Mora said the city would rely heavily on these public health education teams, who will observe health practices inside businesses to see if they are in compliance. Violators will be reported to law enforcement - police, sheriff's deputies, constables - who will issue citations.
Violations are a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500 per offense.
The El Paso City/County Health Authority's order is summarized as follows:
- All individuals over the age of two (2), are to wear some form of face covering over their nose and mouth, while in indoor spaces.
- A face covering may include a variety of options.
- Parents and guardians of children over the age of two (2) and under the age of ten (10) shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.
- A face covering is not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, has a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, or is actively exercising indoors and not within 6 feet of any other individual not from the same household.
- A person is not required to wear a face covering while the person is consuming food or drink.
- Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for the Covid-19 vaccination, for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and handwashing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
Below is a copy of the complete order signed by Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.