Following Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 18 Executive Order GA-36, which prohibits government entities in Texas from requiring or mandating mask wearing, the cities of Bellaire and West University Place are heeding the call.

Bellaire no longer requires face coverings in its city facilities, the city confirmed in an email.

“We, of course, are encouraging both public and staff to wear a face covering if they are more comfortable,” the city wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

Bellaire facilities will continue to use protective barriers at any public-facing counters and will have hand sanitizer and masks available.

“We will continue to use protective barriers at the public-facing counters and have hand sanitizer and masks available,” the city said. “We encourage social distancing and are following CDC guidelines. Some public safety employees may have different PPE requirements based on their job responsibilities.”

Bellaire public meetings will continue in the hybrid format until further notice.

West University Place, meanwhile, removed its mask requirement starting May 20, according to a May 19 city notice.

Despite the removal of the requirement, West University Place continues to encourage residents to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bellaire and West University Place are among those local governments included in Executive Order GA-36 that would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 if they continued imposing a mask mandate beginning May 21.

Excluded in the order are state-supported living centers, government-owned or -operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.