NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman has signed an order requiring the use of face coverings at all businesses operating in the New Braunfels city limits, according to the city.
The order goes into effect immediately, according to a release issued by the city. The order also continued the local disaster declaration and public health emergency previously issued.
"As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, the transmission of the virus remains a significant threat to the health and safety of the New Braunfels community," the release from the city said. "State and local health authorities agree that the implementation of certain health measures, including social distancing and face coverings, help to reduce the rate of transmission."
The Mayor's Advisory Group to Reopen New Braunfels, which is made up of business representatives from different industry sectors, was also consulted. According to the city, the group also recommended additional measures to help slow the spread of the virus locally.
Brockman signed the order on the advice of local health authorities and input from the group, and in accordance with executive orders issued by the Texas Governor's Office, according to the city.
"Making this decision on behalf of our community is not something that I take lightly. But this order comes after a lot of consultation with local health authorities, business leaders, city staff and fellow council members. Each person I have spoken with has shown great care and concern, not just for their own families, but for the well-being of the residents of this community," Brockman said in a released statement. "The health and safety of our residents is the top priority, and this order is the right thing to do to take care of our community."
Under the new order, all commercial entities in New Braunfels that provide goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy that requires all employees and visitors to wear face coverings whenever separation of 6 feet or more is not feasible, according to the city. Businesses will have until Sunday, June 28 to develop their policy and have it implemented when enforcement begins Monday, June 29, although the city's goal is to educate and seek voluntary compliance.
A sample health and safety policy is available in an effort to help local businesses comply with the order, as well as signage that outlines the minimum requirements of the order, according to the city. The resources are available online here.
The order also requires the use of face coverings for anyone over the age of 10 years old when in public and when the 6-foot social distancing standard is difficult to meet, according to the city.
"No civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failing to wear a face covering, which includes homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or handkerchiefs," the release from the city said. "It is strongly recommended that residents reserve the use of medical masks or N-95 respirators for health care providers and first responders."
Click here to read the order in its entirety or for more about the city’s ongoing response to COVID-19.