Between June 17 and June 19, 2020, four counties in Texas issued orders mandating that businesses develop and implement a “Health and Safety Policy” that requires all employees or visitors to wear face coverings in areas or while performing activities where six feet of separation between co-workers or the public is not feasible. The Health and Safety Policy must also include the implementation of other mitigating measures designed to control or reduce the transmission of COVID-19 such as temperature checks or health screenings. Businesses are required to post their Health and Safety Policy in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements.
These county orders are being issued because, according to the issuing authorities, the transmission of COVID-19 has not dissipated in Texas and remains a significant health and safety threat resulting in increased infection rates, hospitalizations, ICU patients, and ventilator usage. Trade groups and other organizations are pressing Texas Governor Greg Abbott to issue a statewide mask order to avoid having a patchwork of local or county orders. So far, the Governor has not done so, nor indicated that he intends to do so.
Below are the effective dates and penalties for each county that has issued a mask order. Although businesses can be fined for failure to implement the required policy, individuals cannot be fined or penalized. Because several other counties within Texas are considering issuing similar orders, the list below is likely to change. We will provide updates as new orders are issued.
Executive Order NW-10 is effective from June 17 until June 30. Businesses that do not develop and implement the required policy within five (5) calendar days following June 17 may be issued a fine not to exceed $1,000 for each violation.
The Supplemental Order On Continuing Requirements After Expiration of Stay Home, Stay Safe went into effect on June 19 and continues until August 4. Businesses that do not abide by the order within five (5) calendar days following June 19 may be issued a fine not to exceed $500 for each violation.
The Supplemental Emergency Order Related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency went into effect on June 18. Failure to comply with the requirements therein by June 20 could result in a fine not to exceed $1,000.
The Mandatory Health and Safety Policies for Commercial Entities became effective on June 18 and continues through August 15. Businesses must comply with the order no later than June 23 or be issued a fine not to exceed $1,000.