Round Rock votes to enact mask ordinance

Individuals 10 years and older required to wear face coverings in public

Talk 1370 Newsroom
June 29, 2020 - 12:27 pm

    ROUND ROCK, Texas (Talk1370.com) -- The City of Round Rock has enacted an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings in the city beginning Wednesday.

    Passed by a unanimous vote in a special called emergency meeting of the Round Rock City Council on Monday afternoon, officials say the ordinance is a response to the steadily increasing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Round Rock.

    In addition to the notice requirements for businesses, the ordinance also requires all persons 10 years of age or older to wear a face covering when social distancing cannot be maintained, whether indoors or outdoors.

    "It’s important that we take immediate action to slow the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases in our area," Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said in a statement. "While we are beginning to see more residents following health officials’ recommendations to wear masks, the goal of this emergency ordinance is to ensure everyone is doing their part to keep our businesses open and our community moving in the right direction."

    The emergency ordinance will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday evening and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on August 28, unless otherwise extended or amended. A first time violation of the ordinance will result in a verbal or written warning. Ensuing violations of the ordinance are punishable by fines starting at $200 and escalating up to $1,000.

    During the meeting, Morgan said that other major cities in Williamson County, including Georgetown, Hutto, Taylor, Leander, and Cedar Park would likely consider similar ordinances later this week.

    Because the ordinance was approved under the city's Home Rule Charter, as opposed to an executive order, city officials say the ordinance does not run afoul of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide executive order that prohibits civil or criminal penalties for individuals regarding face coverings. The ordinance "is a totally separate and different procedure that does not depend upon the action of the governor or the county judge," attorney Steve Sheets said.

    ​The requirement to wear face coverings does not apply to the following situations:

    • ​​When exercising or engaging in physical activity
    • When in a building or participating in an activity that requires security surveillance or screening, such as banks
    • While consuming food or drink
    • When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
    • When outside with a group of only members of a single household
    • When other mitigation strategy, such as plexiglass, provides adequate separation
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