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Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales Issues Orders Regarding Masks and Facial Coverings to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

Order defines requirements, recommendations, and exemptions for wearing masks and facial coverings

Post Date:06/23/2020 3:00 PM

County of Nueces

County Judge
Nueces County Courthouse, Room 303
901 Leopard Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401-3697

Read the full document here:  Nueces County Order Face Masks FILED 6-23-2020


WHEREAS, pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 418.108, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales issued a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency on March 13, 2020, due to a novel coronavirus now designated SARS-CoV2 which causes the disease COVID-19;

WHEREAS, on March 18, 2020, the Nueces County Commissioners Court issued an Extension of Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency that affirmed the activation of the Nueces County Emergency Management Plan and extends the Declaration of Local Disaster until rescinded by order of the Commissioners' Court;

WHEREAS, the County Judge has issued several Orders since the extension of the Disaster Declaration under the authority of Section 418(g) of the Texas Government Code that authorizes the County Judge "to control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in the area;"

WHEREAS, the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, on June 3, 2020 issued Executive Order GA-26 ("Abbott's Order") relating to the expanded reopening of Texas and superseding his previous Executive Order GA-23, inclusive of his May 26, 2020 proclamation, related to the reopening of services;

WHEREAS, the transmission of CO VID-19 has not dissipated but remains a significant threat to the health and safety of the residents of Nueces County;

WHEREAS, the County Judge has determined that extraordinary emergency measures must be taken to try and mitigate the effects of this public health emergency and to facilitate a response to the public health threat;

WHEREAS, the on-going evaluation of circumstances related to the coronavirus, the updated recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control, and the Texas Department of State Health Services warrant this further Order by Nueces County Judge (supersedes prior June 4, 2020 Order (the "Order").


Effective June 26, 2020 (midnight) and continuing until July 10, 2020 unless extended, modified, amended, rescinded or superseded by the County Judge:

1. Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order GA-26 ("Abbott's Order") is applicable to Nueces County, Texas without any further action. Recognizing Abbott's Order and in an effort to so re-affirm it, Abbott's Order is herein incorporated by reference as if set out word for word herein.

2. This Order supersedes the County Judge's Order signed June 4, 2020.

3. Health and Safety Practices - Commercial Entities. Commercial entities ("Commercial Entities"), as further described below, providing goods or services directly to the public in Nueces County must develop and implement COVID-19 related health and safety practices ("Health and Safety Practices"). For purposes of this Order, Commercial Entities are only those entities which interact directly with the public in provision of goods and services. Commercial Entities' Health and Safety Practices shall set out the measures and protocols developed and implemented to ensure the control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at each location providing goods and services directly to the public in Nueces County. Commercial Entities for purposes of this Order do not include construction sites or Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) (essential critical infrastructure commercial service) providers' places of business that do not directly interact with the public.

4. Facial Covering Required. Each person ten ( 10) years of age or older shall wear a face covering over his/her nose and mouth when inside a county or city owned or operated facility within the boundaries of Nueces County (a "Governmental Facility") - unless each person is able to maintain at least six (6) feet of separation from all other members of the public and co-workers (excepting family members) while inside such Governmental Facility. The Nueces County courthouse, the City Hall of any municipality within the boundaries of Nueces County, county and city libraries, museums, community centers, and senior centers are each considered a Governmental Facility for purposes of this Order. The Port of Corpus Christi Authority of Nueces County, Texas ("POCCA"), Del Mar College, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority ("RTA"), Nueces County Hospital District facilities, Nueces County Appraisal District facilities, Corpus Christi Independent School District administrative offices, Corpus Christi International Airport facilities, and all water and drainage district offices, and such similar county and city facilities within the boundaries of Nueces County are each considered a Governmental Facility for purposes of this Order. No federal or state owned or operated facilities within Nueces County are considered to be a Governmental Facility. The USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Museum is not considered a Governmental Facility.

Face coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. Individuals are encouraged to bring a face covering with them when seeking public services, but- in the event that an individual does not have a face covering - a disposable face covering should be provided.

The following Commercial Entities are "Listed Commercial Entities:" Texas State Aquarium, grocery stores, pharmacies, big box stores ( e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and others that can be reasonable characterized as "big box" stores), and shopping malls in Nueces County (inclusive of all retail stores inside of shopping malls). The Health and Safety Practices for all Listed Commercial Entities must require that all employees and visitors inside a Listed Commercial Entities' business premises wear face coverings when in a space that will necessarily involve close contact (areas where six (6) feet of separation is not feasible) with others - excepting family members.

Each person ten ( 10) years of age or older shall wear a face covering over his/her nose and mouth when riding on a public bus (including all Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority vehicles), when in a taxi or a ride share, or when utilizing any other form of transportation accessible to the general public (not including air travel).

5. Facial Covering Recommended. It is recommended to all other Commercial Entities (those Commercial Entities that are not Listed Commercial Entities) that their Health and Safety Practices document encourage employees and visitors to wear face coverings when in close contact (areas where six (6) feet of separation is not feasible) with others - excepting family members. This recommendation is made to all places of worship, retail stores, restaurants, bars, water parks, medical offices, law offices, business offices, gyms and such other Commercial Entities that are not Listed Commercial Entities.

6. Face coverings do not need to be worn when doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk to the person. For example, face coverings do not need to be worn by a person who has a medical condition that makes it unsafe for him or her to wear a face covering, or by a person whose treating physician deems wearing of a face mask to be unsafe.

7. Additional Recommendations and Mandatory Posting. The Health and Safety Practices required to be developed and implemented by this Order may also include the implementation of other mitigating measures such as temperature checks or health screenings. Commercial Entities must post in a conspicuous manner their Health and Safety Practices at each customer and employee entrance sufficient to serve as a notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements and measures be'ing taken by the Commercial Entity. This Health and Safety Practices notice must be in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height. Failure to develop, implement, and post Health and Safety Practices as required by this Order may result in a fine against the Commercial Entity, not to exceed S 1,000 dollars for each violation.

8. In the strongest terms possible, it is recommended that Nueces County residents continue to maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet of separation from all others (indoors and outdoors). Face coverings do not need to be worn when engaging in outdoor activity, riding alone or with members of the same household in a personal vehicle, or when consuming food or drink. Face coverings do not need to be worn when social distancing of at least six ( 6) feet is observed.

9. It is strongly recommended that medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be reserved and used only by medical professionals and first responders.

10. Consistent with Abbott's Order, no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.

11. The County of Nueces must promptly provide copies of this Order by posting on the Nueces County website. In addition, the owner, manager, or operator of any facility that is likely to be impacted by this Order is strongly encouraged to post a copy of this Order onsite and to provide a copy to any member of the public asking for a copy. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this Order.

12. This Order of County Judge Barbara Canales applies to all incorporated and unincorporated areas of Nueces County. To the extent of a conflict between decisions of Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and a mayor of any city within the geographic boundaries of Nueces County, the decisions set forth in this Order prevail (to the fullest extent allowed by law pursuant to Texas Government Code  Section 418.108(h) ).

Date: 6-22-2020

Nueces County Judge

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