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Face Mask Orders

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Georgetown, all Texans are required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when in public. In Georgetown, all businesses must adopt and post a health and safety policy outlining the establishment’s requirements.

Governor’s Order Establishing Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Limits to Gatherings

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order July 2 requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than 10 and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

City of Georgetown order requiring face masks in businesses

Effective July 3, 2020, all people age 10 and older in Georgetown must wear face coverings while in public. Each business must adopt and publicly post a Health and Safety Policy. This order will remain in place until Williamson County reports a positive test rate of 7 percent or fewer over a two-week average and is similar to those in other Williamson County cities, including Round Rock, Hutto, Taylor, Leander, and Cedar Park.

Health and Safety Policy (a policy must be posted inside the business):
Health and Safety Policy sample

Signs for businesses and offices (samples):
Option 1
Face mask sign – English
Face mask sign – Spanish

Option 2
Face mask sign – English
Face mask sign – Spanish

Exemptions:

The State and local orders detail the following exemptions to the face mask requirements:

  1. Children younger than 10 years old
  2. People with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  3. While seated at a restaurant or consuming food or drink
  4. While (a) exercising or engaging in physical activity outdoors and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household
  5. While the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  6. While obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face. In such instances, face masks should be removed temporarily and only to the extent necessary.
  7. While the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water
  8. While voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election. However, wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged
  9. While actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship. However, wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged
  10. While giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience

Video message from Mayor Dale Ross:

Face coverings

Face coverings do not substitute for the need to maintain physical distancing. Face coverings, combined with physical distancing, decrease the risk of spread.

Face coverings should cover both the nose and mouth and attach securely behind the ears. Coverings should be washed after each use with hot water and detergent, and hands should be washed immediately after touching the cover.

Enforcement

While the City will prioritize education, both the State and local orders allow for fines to be assessed for violations.

Individuals who believe the orders are being violated by individuals or businesses in Georgetown can report it to the Georgetown Police Department’s non-emergency number: 512-930-3510.

Businesses found in violation of the order, including failure to post a health and safety policy, may be given a citation and fined up to $1,000 per offense. Individuals found in violation will be given a verbal warning upon first offense, and a fine of up to $250 per additional violation.

If a business has a customer who is unwilling to abide by the order, the business can ask the individual to leave. If they refuse to leave, the business can call the police department’s non-emergency number and officers will respond. No one can be jailed for violating mask orders, but if an individual who refused to wear a mask refuses to leave, the individual may be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.

FAQ about masks

Are masks required all the time, or just when physical distancing can’t be maintained?

The governor’s orders require all people in Texas to cover their mouth and nose wherever people can’t maintain six feet of physical distance from people not in the same household. This includes when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public and in outdoor public spaces.

Exemptions are listed above.

I own a business in Georgetown. How do I know if the order applies to me?

All businesses in Georgetown are required to adopt and post a health policy. The local order only exempts places of worship and State, County, and school district facilities. The exemption for places of worship only applies to worship services. Childcare and other business-like activity and transactions operated out of places of worship are subject to the order and must adopt and post a policy.

Door-to-door solicitors also are subject to the order and must submit their health policy with their solicitor’s permit. Whenever 6 feet of distance can’t be maintained, solicitors are required to wear masks.

What classifies as a mask?

Any cloth that covers your mouth and nose classifies as a face covering for this order. That can include a scarf, handkerchief, bandana, etc. Lifting a shirt to cover your nose and mouth is not compliant.

Can I use plexiglass barriers in a business instead of requiring masks?

No, masks are required whenever six feet of distance cannot be maintained. Plexiglass is a great addition, but it cannot replace physical distance or masks.

Will you fine businesses or individuals for violations?

The governor’s orders allow Cities to fine both businesses and individuals for violating mask requirements. Cities can fine businesses that fail to enforce the local mask order (up to $1,000 in Georgetown), and individuals for not wearing masks in public (up to $250 on a second violation). Police can remove people from businesses upon the business’s request, but no one can be jailed for violating mask orders.

Is the city going to provide posters, or post flyers on the website, with the official city logo mandating masks so businesses can post them in their stores?

Yes, signs are available for print and download above on this page.

How will this be enforced?

The City’s primary goals for enforcement will be education and voluntary compliance.

Individuals who believe the orders are being violated by individuals or businesses in Georgetown can report it to the Georgetown Police Department’s non-emergency number: 512-930-3510.

If a business has a customer who is unwilling to abide by the order, the business can ask the individual to leave. If they refuse to leave, the business can call the police department’s non-emergency number and officers will respond. No one can be jailed for violating mask orders, but if an individual who refused to wear a mask refuses to leave, the individual may be arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.

You can read more about enforcement above on this page.

Who will collect the fines?

A citation will be filed with Municipal Court, which will collect the fine.

Do masks actually work?

Cloth face coverings are recommended to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people, according to the CDC. This recommendation is based on what is known about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Please review additional resources below:

Is the city approving any outdoor events for groups larger than 100 if attendees social distance and/or wear masks?

The City will respond to requests for events that are more than 100 people as they come in. In general, the City is not allowing gatherings of people to occur unless the applicant can show how they will comply with local and state guidance on masking, social distancing, and good hygiene.

Protests that don’t block the street or rights of way relating to issues protected by the First Amendment do not require City approval.

What if someone refuses to wear a mask for medical reasons?

If the customer says they have a physical or mental reason that prohibits them from being able to wear a mask, then that person is exempt. It’s an exception that will be abused as a loophole, but the City will not put businesses in the position of violating ADA rights.

Do I have to wear a mask when I'm...
  • Dining in a restaurant? Only when you are not seated at your table.
  • Sitting on a business’s furniture on a public sidewalk? Yes, the governor’s orders require people wear masks while out in public whenever six feet of distance cannot be maintained, with few exceptions (listed above). While the sidewalk is public, furniture placed on the sidewalk for customers’ use in those areas become part of the business’ premises, and physical distancing or masks must be enforced. Businesses do not need to remove the furniture, but will need to regularly disinfect it and arrange it in a way that ensures seating is 6 feet apart and maintains clear walkways for pedestrians.
  • Receiving services that require a mask be taken off (facials, beard shave, etc.)? The customer can temporarily remove the face covering while the cosmetologist or barber is completing the service that requires removal of the mask. The employee must keep the mask on while within 6 feet of the customer.
  • Going through a drive-through? Generally, if the drive-through/pick-up arrangement allows for physical distancing, masks may not be required. Everyone is required to require masks whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained. Businesses can require additional restrictions.
  • In the gym or city recreation center? Gyms provide services to the public, so they are subject to the requirements of developing a health and safety policy that is posted where employees and customers can see it. If people cannot keep 6 feet apart, then the business must require that customers wear a face covering. At the Georgetown Rec Center, all employees, members, and guests are required to wear a mask or face covering while inside the facilities, including the fitness room. As long as a six feet physical distancing can be maintained, face coverings are not required while playing tennis. Visit the Parks and Recreation page for more information about how the mask order affects facilities.
  • In pools, parks, and splash pads? Pool patrons must wear face coverings while entering and exiting the facility, and while lounging by the side of the pool. Patrons do not need to wear a mask if they are in the water or actively moving to and from the water. Patrons are not required to wear a mask or face covering at an outdoor park or splash pad. However, the CDC recommends wearing a mask or face covering when leaving your home. Visit the Parks and Recreation page for more information about how the mask order affects facilities.
  • At a farmer’s or outdoor market?Yes, farmers and other outdoor markets need to enable physical distancing and require masks where distancing is not possible.
  • At church? Places of worship are exempt from requiring masks of patrons during active worship, though it’s strongly encouraged. All functions outside of active worship, such as childcare operations, are subject to the local order.
Does this apply to child care centers?

Teachers, counselors, and staff at child care centers must wear face coverings. Children who are at least 10 years of age also must wear face coverings. The face covering requirement does not apply when children are engaged in outside exercise or outdoor physical activities, especially when they are in bodies of water or engaged in any type of water play, such as a small pool or splash pad.

Other cities

As of the end of June, two-thirds of Texas cities were requiring masks. Below are links to similar orders from other Williamson County cities.

Mask orders in other Williamson County cities:

Round Rock
Hutto
Taylor
Leander
Cedar Park



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