Smith County will not enforce Abbott face mask order with fines

Coronavirus

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith announced on Friday that his office will not enforce Gov. Abbott’s face mask order with fines.

While we encourage the public to take all precautions, we will encourage voluntary compliance regarding wearing a mask and will not be issuing citations for failure to comply.

Sheriff Larry Smith

Smith did go on to write that a business in the county would be well within its rights to refuse to serve a customer who refused to comply with a mask requirement and could ask the cusotmer to leave.

Gov. Abbott’s requirement went into effect Friday at noon and is active across much of the state. However, one of the exceptions is if a county judge allows for the order to go unenforced.

Here are the other exceptions:

  • Any person younger than 10 years of age; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
  • Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household
  • Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  • Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face-covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal
  • Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body
    of water
  • Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or
    actively administering an election, but wearing a face-covering is strongly
    encouraged
  • Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious
    worship, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged;
  • Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an
    audience
  • Any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face-covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.

Not excempted from this face-covering requirement is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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