Pflugerville discusses, postpones potential mask ordinance conversation to later date

Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date.
Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date.

Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date.

In a nearly hourlong emergency meeting held June 30, Pflugerville City Council has opted to postpone further discussion surrounding a potential mandatory masks ordinance to a later date. The emergency meeting was initially called due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases throughout Travis County and the Central Texas region.

No draft of a proposed ordinance was provided to council for deliberation June 30. Rather, the emergency meeting was held to gauge council's standing on the issue as well as provide direction to city staff on how to proceed.

Council Member Jeff Marsh said he was concerned with the precedent set by calling an emergency meeting only a few hours before council would convene. Marsh said a minimum of 48 hours should have been provided so city staff could prepare a more robust presentation with case data and potential ordinance language available for council to deliberate.

"Calling this as an emergency meeting is wildly inappropriate," Marsh said.

Data provided to Pflugerville City Council on June 30 highlighted that from June 4-29, Travis County cumulative cases increased 153%. In the same time period, cases in the 78660 ZIP code—which encompasses a significant portion of Pflugerville—increased by 171%.


Travis County issued an order June 18 that requires all businesses and customers wear masks as well as create and enact related health and safety plans. The order is in effect until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15 unless extended or modified.

Council Member Jim McDonald said that if council is interested in implementing a more definitive policy than the one outlined by Travis County, council ought to give city staff additional time to put together a full presentation and facilitate feedback. McDonald stressed that if the city pursues a mandate, it should be a "non-knee-jerk reaction."

With council's next regular meeting not scheduled until July 14, Mayor Pro Tem Omar Peña said that case counts and transmissions can change significantly in a two-week time period. The point of the emergency meeting and a potential mandate, Peña said, is to take a strong leadership stance.

Mayor Victor Gonzales, echoing Peña's sentiments, said he is unconcerned whether council's action is redundant and would rather demonstrate the city is supporting its community and keeping residents safe.

“While some might think that this is a redundant action to consider, it’s better, I think, to be safe than sorry—to err on the side of caution," Gonzales said.

Following council deliberation, Gonzales said that council will likely revisit the topic at a future meeting. From there, council can advise staff to have a model ordinance drafted and deliberated, should that be the will of the council.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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