The Moore County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 on Tuesday morning to amend the current local disaster declaration. The change will require the wearing of facial coverings while in certain public spaces. The dissenting vote was cast by commissioner Miles Mixon.
Enforcement of the facial covering requirement would begin on April 24, 2020 at 12:00 a.m.
This update will not change the expiration date of the current local disaster declaration, which is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 2, 2020. Another vote by the county commissioners court will be needed in order to extend the disaster declaration.
County Judge Rowdy Rhoades stated during the meeting that the focus of this update was primarily directed towards public retail spaces and that the county had modeled their plan after the City of Laredo.
On April 4th Time Magazine reported that Laredo had 85 confirmed cases of the virus and at least five people had died when Laredo mandated wearing facial coverings.
As of April 21, 2020, Texas DSHS was reporting 139 confirmed cases in Moore County and 2 COVID-19 related deaths.
Commissioner Mixon addressed the court saying “It’s a slippery slope… For this particular instance, I am making my decision based on mandates from the Governor of the state of Texas… He has not mandated that the public be forced to wear masks in public settings… I am relying on the Governor for my guidance… If the county mandates people to wear face coverings I think that we are obligated to provide those.”
Commissioner Dee Vaughan asked County Attorney Scott Higginbotham for clarification about how this change would affect outdoor activities; “If I come out of Wal-Mart and I have my mask on because I have been in the store, and I take my mask down because I am out in the fresh air and I want to enjoy that fresh air on my walk back to the car, I’m okay to take my mask off?” According to Higginbotham in that scenario, it would be acceptable to remove your mask.
You can watch the complete Moore County Commissioners Court meeting below.