LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise rapidly across the state of Texas.
This morning, the City of Lufkin issued an emergency advisory regulation for those in public spaces to wear masks.
“Our case level has dramatically risen. I believe that we will hit 800 cases in Angelina County within this week,” said Gerald Williamson, director of public safety.
In hopes to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city is asking that all commercial establishments post a sign that requires people over the age of ten to wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth while in the establishment, beginning tonight at 11:59 p.m.
“It is for the businesses, it suggests to them that they require their customers, as they come in, they cannot mandate that the customers cannot come in, but the main thing we’re doing is just imploring to the public, be respectful of your neighbors, be respectful of your fellow customers in the retail stores,” said Mayor Bob Brown.
Per the governor's office, the city cannot impose a criminal or civil penalty, but they are continuing to educate and create awareness about the importance of wearing masks.
“People have to understand that the governor has limited the city’s and the county’s authority to enforce mask rules,” Williamson said. “So what we’ve come out with, with an advisory is the strongest action that we can take. And we believe that it’s entirely appropriate and reasonable.”
Mayor Brown said that after lots of input from the medical field and doctors asking the city to take action, he believes this will help.
“They feel like masks will work. The governor has made statements about masks and all we can do is try and just plea with the public to wear your mask, be respectful of those around you, and let’s try to get this thing back down to where it belongs,” Brown said.
According to the regulation, the only exceptions to this are when a customer is eating or drinking in the establishment.
The regulation goes into effect at 11:59 this evening and will remain in effect until it expires at 11:59 p.m. on July 6th.