The order expires Aug. 1, unless it is extended, modified or terminated by the mayor or City Council. An executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott or the Comal County County judge could also have the same effect.
“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," Brockman said. "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.”
The positivity rate for COVID-19 testing in Comal County for the past seven days was 20.7%, and more than 300 cases have been reported between June 1 and June 23.
Under the order, businesses within New Braunfels that provide goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a Health and Safety Policy requiring, at the minimum, that all employees and visitors to the business' premises or facilities wear face coverings.
All people 10 years or older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place where it is difficult to keep 6 feet away from other people, or while working in areas that involve close proximity (less than 6 feet) with other people or coworkers.
According to the order, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings for people 2 years or older.
The Health and Safety Policy may also include additional measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19, such as temperature checks or health screenings.
The policy must also be displayed at the business in a conspicuous location that is easily viewable by both employees and visitors.
Health and Safety Policy and signage samples are available and may be used by businesses.
Failure to develop a policy by June 28 may result in the business being fined up to $1,000 for each day the violation occurs.
Enforcement of the order begins June 29.
Individuals are not subject to civil or criminal penalties for failure to wear a face covering due to the governor's Executive Order GA-26.
Under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, authority for enforcement has been granted to any New Braunfels police officer, New Braunfels fire marshal, city park ranger, city health and building inspector, city code enforcement officer, and city animal control officer.
City employees are also required to wear face coverings under the same circumstances as the public.
In addition to masks, valid face coverings include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or a handkerchief.
The city does not recommend medical masks or N-95 respirators because they may be needed for health care providers and first responders.
According to Brockman's order, face coverings do not need to be worn in the following circumstances:
- when exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside
- when engaging in river activities such as tubing, swimming, kayaking, etc.
- while driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
- when doing so poses greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
- while pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment
- while in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, such as a bank
- when consuming food or drinks
Social distancing, hand washing, not using a disposable mask more than three times, washing reusable cloth masks regularly and all other CDC guidelines are still recommended.
The city of New Braunfels will continue daily temperature checks for its employees before entering restricted areas of city owned or leased facilities, and the same protocol will be applied to citizens, although lobby areas are not subject to these rules.
Individuals with a temperature exceeding 100 degree will not be allowed to enter the restricted areas of municipal buildings.
According to the order, the decision to continue or revoke this order will take into consideration recommendations from the local public health official among other factors related to improved local conditions.
“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,” Brockman said.