Brewster county extends emergency declaration; mandates facemasks

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"It's a little bit of a sacrifice for some folks, but I think it's well worth it."

BREWSTER COUNTY, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Brewster County extended its existing Emergency Declaration on Monday. County Judge, Eleazar Cano, initially declared it back in March as the pandemic made its way to West Texas. Cano says the county’s number of positive cases remained in the single digits for a long time until it spiked.

In addition to extending the county’s Emergency Declaration, facemasks are now required in public. Defying the judge’s order could cost you up to a thousand dollars or an arrest for criminal trespassing.

“It’s a little bit of a sacrifice for some folks, but I think it’s well worth it,” said Cano. “Studies have shown that they’re effective, and in my mind, it seems like a very doable thing. And feasible for us to help promote, and get out to the public, as a way of protecting each other.”

The order requires all businesses to implement mandatory face coverings for employees and customers. Gatherings of 100 people or more is prohibited with a few exceptions, which include critical infrastructure workforce, religious services, local government operations, child-care services, youth camps, recreational sports programs, swimming pools, water parks, museums, libraries, and zoos.

“Sometimes you have to be the bad guy, and take it with a grain of salt. You know, they’ll curse you today and they’ll thank you tomorrow,” said Cano.

Cano says the ordinance was created mostly to help businesses enforce safety. Sheriff Ronny Dodson added it is not their intention to bust citizens.

“We work with these people everyday, we shop in their stores, it’s a small community. We want to help them. We want to help them meet the mandate, and if they have problems getting people out of their stores, myself or a deputy will go down there and help them.”

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