News and Commentary

Texas Town Orders Citizens To Wear ‘Nose And Mouth’ Coverings Or Face Fine Up To $1,000
Wind from Hurricane Harvey batters a Texas flag on August 26, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Laredo, Texas, city council issued an amended emergency ordinance ordering citizens to wear face coverings when in certain public places, and abide by a daily curfew until April 30, or risk a fine of up to $1,000.

As of 12:01 a.m. on April 2, residents of Laredo must follow a curfew that begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. each day (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for those under 18 and unaccompanied by an adult). Not unexpectedly, the curfew has numerous exceptions for “essential activities.”

As of the same time, all Laredo residents aged five and over must wear a face covering, which can include a “homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief,” when “entering into or inside of any building open to the public; when using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares; or when pumping gas.” As with the curfew, there are exceptions listed in the ordinance.

Notably, for essential activities as it pertains to the curfew, a press release about the ordinance states: “Those who must work during those hours will be exempt from this ordinance, but must show proof such as an I.D. or a letter from their employer. Laredo police officers will be enforcing this ordinance and may use their discretion.”

The pertinent text of the ordinance reharding the curfew reads in part:

WHEREAS, Dr. Hector Gonzalez and Dr. Victor Trevino have advised the City Council that covering an individual’s nose and mouth can diminish the chance of cough droplets being spread in the air, and that wearing even a homemade mask, scarf, or bandana will reduce the propensity for people to touch their faces thereby partially preventing asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19 from unknowingly spreading the disease; and

WHEREAS, in addition to practicing social distancing and staying at home as much as possible, Dr. Hector Gonzalez and Dr. Victor Trevino have recommended to City Council that mandating the citizens to wear a facial covering will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 because the more people that do so, the less the virus is distributed and fewer individuals are exposed; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has investigated and determined that countries who have implemented requirements for partial facial coverage, such as Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, have significantly slowed down the spread of the virus…

a) A curfew for all persons aged 17 and under to be imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

b) A curfew for all persons aged 18 and over to be imposed from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., unless that person is out for an emergency, or to perform certain Essential Activities, or to perform or obtain services from Essential Businesses, Government Functions or services, or Critical Infrastructure…

Any person who violates this Ordinance may be subject to a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or confinement for a period not exceeding 180 days.

The pertinent text of the ordinance pertaining to the face coverings reads:

Except as provided herein, all persons over the age of five (5) are required to wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief, when: entering into or inside of any building open to the public; when using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares; or when pumping gas. This Section shall not apply to person that are: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes. The penalty for a violation of this section shall be a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00)

COVID-19, which originated in China’s Hubei province, has infected over 1,000,000 people worldwide, and led to more than 51,400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map. 208,949 people have recovered.

In the United States, there have been more than 236,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and over 5,600 deaths. As of publication, 8,861 individuals have recovered from the virus.

The Daily Wire reached out to the Governor’s office for comment, but we have not received a response as of publication.