State Watch

Residents in Texas city can face $1,000 fine for not wearing ‘some form of covering over their nose and mouth’ after new motion

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Under a motion passed by the city council in Laredo, Texas, earlier this week, residents in the town can now face a fine of up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of covering on their nose and mouth in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, council members passed the motion in a vote earlier this week. As part of the measure, all residents over the age of 5 are required to have their nose and mouth covered when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas, the body said in a notice detailing the motion, which went into effect Thursday.

“This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes,” the notice also states. 

Starting Thursday, residents will also be required to adhere to a daily curfew or possibly face a fine or jail time.

Under the curfew, which lasts from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., residents “will be required to stay in their homes during this time and may only leave for essential trips and necessities.”

“Those who must work during those hours will be exempt from this ordinance, but must show proof such as an I.D. or a letter from their employer. Laredo Police Officers will be enforcing this ordinance and may use their discretion,” the notice continues.

Those who violate the order could face a fine of up to $1,000 or “confinement in jail for a period not exceeding 180 days,” the notice adds.

However, a city spokesperson told the Laredo Morning Times that the motion does not override a recent order issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that allows people to exercise outside. The spokesperson clarified that Laredo citizens will still be able to exercise outside during curfew, but not in groups. 

The drastic steps taken by city officials in Laredo come as lawmakers across the country are issuing strict stay-at-home orders to their constituents in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus virus.

According to the latest data provided by the city, more than 50 positive cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the town and at least 3 people have died from the virus.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Laredo, Texas Social distancing

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