County Judge Jay Knight spoke to the county today through Facebook streaming video to announce a new executive order mandating all businesses in the county providing goods and services to the public to develop policies requiring any customer 10 years old or over to wear face coverings when unable to maintain a distance from other of 6 feet or more.
Knight met and consulted with local mayors and city managers and with DSHS officials.
“I don’t want a lockdown,” he said. “This is a measure we can do. I think this is one that will cut our chances of having another lockdown.”
The judge had previously resisted ordering the wearing of mask, and he was careful to point out that no individual will be penalized, civilly or criminally, for failing to wear a mask. The order applies to businesses.
The order went into effect immediately after midnight today and will continue until July 15, if not cancelled sooner.
“You expect your county government to lead you through challenging times. Well, this is the most challenging time in our history,” Knight said.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise again here in Liberty County. As of yesterday, the number of cases in this county has reached 307. Of that 307 total, 91 have recovered and 213 are active cases.
Fireworks on and off
The City of Liberty is still go for its fireworks show on July 3 at the park with everyone social distancing and staying in their vehicles.
Hardin VFD will not have a show this year, and the City of Cleveland has cancelled theirs.
However, the Hull-Daisetta VFD will go ahead and set off its fireworks, but with no one actually attending on site. Daisetta is small enough everyone can stay home and still see the fireworks. Now, there’s one benefit of living in a very small town.
The order issued by the county judge today reads as follows:
ORDER BY THE COUNTY JUDGE OF THE COUNTY OF LIBERTY, TEXAS
JULY 1, 2020
REQUIREMENT FOR COMMERCIAL ENTITIES PROVIDING GOODS OR SERVICES DIRECTLY TO THE PUBLIC TO MANDATE THE WEARING OF FACE COVERINGS IN THEIR FACILITIES.
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, Liberty County Judge Jay Knight signed a Declaration of Disaster for liberty County, Texas related to COVID-19 pursuant to § 418.108(a) of the Texas Government Code; and
WHEREAS, on March 20, 2020, the Commissioners Court of liberty County voted unanimously to continue the Declaration of a Local Disaster related to COVID-19;
WHEREAS, on May 7, 2020, County Judge Jay Knight adopted the provisions of any current or future Executive Orders issued by Governor Greg Abbott as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, related to the movement of persons or occupancy of premises; and
WHEREAS, there continues to exist a declaration of public health disaster for the State of Texas as previously declared by Governor Greg Abbott; and
WHEREAS, the transmission of COVID-19 has significantly increased in recent days and remains a threat to the health and safety of the County's residents; and the rates of infection and hospitalizations continue to increase; and
WHEREAS, the County of Liberty must continue to protect lives while restoring livelihoods, both of which can be achieved with the expert advice of medical professionals and business leaders; and
WHEREAS, the County Judge has determined that extraordinary emergency measures must be taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the County Judge is authorized to control the occupancy of premises within the County in accordance with Section 418.08(g) of the Texas Government Code; and
WHEREAS, each of the Mayors of the three largest cities in the County of Liberty concur with the findings contained in this Order and agree that this Order is necessary to protect the health and safety of the citizens of their cities, as evidenced by their signatures below; and
WHEREAS, it is the intent that this Order remain consistent and in harmony with previous Executive Orders issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE JAY KNIGHT FOR THE COUNTY OF LIBERTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT THE AUTHORITY VESTED TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, HEREBY FIND AND ORDER THAT:
SECTION 1. The findings and recitations out in the preamble to this Order are found to be and and are hereby adopted by the County Judge and a part hereof for all purposes.
SECTION 2. Effective as of 12:00 a.m. on July 2, 2020 (the “Effective Date”), and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on July 15, 2020, unless terminated, modified or extended by a subsequent order, the County Judge of the County of Liberty, Texas, deems it in the public interest to order that:
Mandatory Health Safety Policy for Commercial Entities. From the Effective Date of this Order, all commercial entities in the County of Liberty that provide goods and services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy (“Policy”). The Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees, customers, vendors and visitors, 10 years or older, wear face coverings when accessing areas of the commercial entity’s premises that involve contact or proximity to other employees or members of the public, where six feet of separation is not feasible. Face coverings required this Order may include, but are not limited to, surgical masks, industrial masks, homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or handkerchiefs. The Policy required to be developed and implemented by this Order include implementation of measures designed to control and reduce transmission of COVID-19.
Commercial entities must the Policy required by this Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees, customers, and visitors of all health safety requirements.
A commercial entity which posts and implements the sample Commercial Entity Health and Safety Policy attached this Order as Exhibit “A” and incorporated herein shall be determined to be in compliance with this Order.
Failure of a commercial entity to post and implement the Policy required by this Order by 12:00 a.m. on July 6, 2020 may result in a fine. not to exceed $500.00 for each violation.
Consistent with Executive by Governor Greg Abbott, no civil or criminal penalty will for failure to wear a covering.
SECTION 3. County promptly provide notice of Order to the public by posting on the County website and filing a copy of Order with the County Clerk. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to 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.
SECTION 4. In accordance with the limitations set forth in the Executive Orders of Governor Greg Abbott, any law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the County of Liberty is hereby authorized to enforce this Order by the authority granted under Section 418.173 of the Texas Government Code.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ORDER CONSTITUTES AN IMMINENT THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH.
The order is then signed by Judge Knight, as well as Cleveland Mayor Richard Boyett, Dayton Mayor Caroline Wadzeck and Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett.
Exhibit “A” is attached to this article as an image.
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