GALVESTON

Cherie Bonneval stood in front of the automatic doors at the Kroger on Seawall Boulevard and hesitated.

Bonneval and her children weren’t wearing face masks, and warning signs posted on the main entrance of one of Galveston’s busiest supermarkets gave her pause.

The sign stated the city of Galveston had implemented a mask requirement for people entering businesses. After a moment, Bonneval turned around. She had a mask in her car, she said. As a matter of practice, she hadn’t been wearing one around town, but the newly imposed city rule had her rethinking masks, she said.

“I’m just so confused about all of this,” said Bonneval, who has been staying in Galveston for the last month. Learning about the order was a reality check for her, she said. “I’m getting chills now talking about it. What if I am putting my kids in danger? It’s starting to change for me a little bit.”

Hundreds of Galveston shoppers who had been forgoing masks during the pandemic found themselves in a new, covered-up world Tuesday. The city’s masking requirements went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The requirements stipulate that businesses must require their employees and their customers over the age of 10 to wear face masks in places where close contact between people is possible.

Although some business owners and consumers welcomed the order, some were bracing for pushback from irate customers who believe mandatory masks are unnecessary and an intrusion on their freedom.

The requirements are meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and come at a time when the number of cases of coronavirus in the city of Galveston is increasing. The number of identified cases of coronavirus in the city has more than quadrupled since Memorial Day from 59 to 254.

The increase — along with the tacit approval of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — prompted Galveston to become the first city in Galveston County to create a mandatory mask order and threaten to fine businesses that don’t comply with it.

La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking over the weekend issued a proclamation urging residents and visitors to the mainland city to wear masks in public places. Unlike Galveston’s order, La Marque’s proclamation doesn’t carry penalties for businesses or individuals who eschew masks.

SHOPPING IN MASKS

At the entrances of some of Galveston’s stores and supermarkets, residents and visitors alike appeared to be following the new mask requirements, even it they weren’t particularly happy about it.

Jack Vaughan used an expletive for cow excrement to describe his feelings about the mask order as he left The Home Depot on Broadway in Galveston, although he still carried a blue hospital mask in his hand.

“I just think that people should be adult enough to decide what they want to do and not be told by the government all the time,” Vaughan said. “If you’re healthy, and you take care of yourself and you’re smart about it, it comes down to common sense.”

Ron Smith, another customer at The Home Depot, said it appeared that most people in the store were following the order, although it didn’t appear anyone in the store was telling customers to wear a face covering as they entered, he said.

Smith didn’t think it was fair that businesses could bear the brunt of punishment if people violate the order.

“If there’s going to be a rule, everybody should follow it,” Smith said. “To me, it ought to be a spot check. The police should go around and if you’re not wearing a mask, they should give you a ticket.”

The city won’t begin to issue fines for violating the sign order until Friday at soonest, officials said. The order expires a week from being in effect unless the city council on Thursday decides to extend it.

On the other side of the same parking lot, Jamie Terry, a League City resident who was shopping in Galveston’s Target store, appreciated that more people would be required to wear masks because it would mean less risk of infecting her son, who is immunocompromised, she said.

“I think it’s a very good idea to stop the spread of the virus,” Terry said. “We don’t really know what’s making it get worse, so whatever we can do to stop the spread is good.”

BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITY

For businesses that have to enforce the new rule, challenges could await.

Although it’s a difficult position for businesses owners to police and deal with angry customers, the city had no other choice, said Holly Hopkins, owner of Mod Coffeehouse, 2126 Postoffice St.

Abbott on June 3 told local governments they couldn’t issue orders requiring people to wear masks or fining them for violating those rules. But Abbott gave a thumbs-up to Bexar County, home of San Antonio, which last week issued an order mandating businesses require face coverings for customers and employees.

Cities and counties can make rules ordering businesses to require face coverings and fine businesses for violating those rules, Abbott said.

Businesses shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of policing people on mask orders or be on the hook financially, Hopkins said. Businesses that violate the order face up to a $1,000 fine.

But she supports the city’s order because Abbott left local leaders with no other option after forbidding governmental entities from fining people instead of businesses, Hopkins said.

“He’s left our local municipalities with literally no other option,” Hopkins said.

More than the financial ramifications, Hopkins is worried about her employees having to leave the shop’s protective glass walls to ask people to put on masks, she said.

“We’ve already had horrible things said to us,” Hopkins said.

Other cities such as Austin, Dallas and Houston have followed San Antonio in implementing the mask order.

Businesses operators are worried about confrontations with customers at the door, said Gary Huddleston, grocery and industry consultant with the Texas Retailers Association.

“If a customer refuses to wear a face covering, then it’s up to the retailer to make the decision what to do with that specific customer,” Huddleston said.

Businesses could offer curbside service, for example, he said.

For business owners, the best approach is that cities require businesses to have a masking policy and cite them for not having such a policy, rather than citing the business if customers don’t wear masks, Huddleston said.

Galveston’s rule imposes fines to businesses that don’t have such a policy.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

Locations

Recommended for you

(54) comments

Ray Taft

Uh oh. John Wayne Ferguson and Keri Heath are not wearing masks in their pictures at the bottom of their article. Does that mean TDN staff are not following the Democrat-run city rules? Are they exempt because they’re part of the Democrat media machine?

As for all you folks who are hesitating going into stores in the City of Galveston, don’t be confused, don’t fear, cross over to the mainland where the mandatory penalty-ridden mask-con isn’t in effect and shop over here while your Democrat mayor still gives you the freedom to do so.

michaelsmith Staff
Michael A. Smith

No, it means the photos were taken maybe two years ago. Just for the record, Daily News employees have been required by company policy to wear masks in the building for about two weeks. We also are required to have our temperatures taken as soon as we enter the building.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

Ray Taft

If your not wearing masks in your photos, you’re not concerned about following the new protocols. TDN should be leading by example, or you’re not as serious as getting people to follow it as you all claim.

Woolsey was wearing a mask in previous his columns, but stopped when he wrote his editorial “Galveston County, we have a problem.” That suggests Woolsey isn’t that concerned about it as he claims.

Get serious. Follow the rules. Wear a mask, make sure everyone at TDN is wearing a mask in their photos to prove they’re doing it. Check that the mayor and city council are all wearing masks.

Joe Mancuso

From GDN https://www.galvnews.com/news/free/article_6eca855b-42da-5901-adf3-5b595973c8a9.html

Ray Taft May 28, 2020 10:08am

"I’m actually a cashier at an essential store. I had a patron, not covering his mouth, coughing and sneezing all over everything.

After he left, I sanitized my station on his side of the shield before taking anymore patrons. The very next patron thanked me because she was undergoing cancer treatment that lowers her immunity.

Why should anyone be forced to stay home because of inconsiderate snooty-class patrons. So, Mayor let’s test patrons before we test workers, or tell your upper-class buddies to stay home if they’re sick."

I gathered from your post that you would have preferred that patron had covered their nose and mouth (maybe with a mask) in order to protect both your next customer who was immuno compromised and yourself. I totally agreed with your post and was, actually, pretty impressed that you were looking out for others and yourself.

Have you changed your mind?

Gary Miller

MR. Smith. Taking temeratures is far better for protecting un infected citizens than wearing a mask.

Bill Broussard

One more journey into idiocy with Mr Taft. This has never been about politics but a fatal pandemic. I’m really getting bored by the distraction to 2.5 million sick people being politicized.

I would bet that new stay at home orders from our elected leaders is just days or weeks away and when it happens it will have been caused by the “maskless majority” to paraphrase our president

Subjecting life and death matters to political Rumination just seems stupid

Ray Taft

It’s all about politics. Could be it was always about politics, considering how the pandemic never played out as it was first claimed it would, then revised, then revised again and again.

Sad that getting to the truth bores you Mr. Broussard.

jimmy winston

Ray why is wearing a mask so difficult for you?

Bailey Jones

I'm beginning to wonder if the anti-maskers aren't, in fact, "never again Trumpsters" intent on keeping the economy down until November so the Democrats can sweep the elections. Ray certainly seems intent on riling up the Democrat base so they get out and vote.

It's all starting to make sense now.

Ray Taft

🤣😂🤣

Ray Taft

The World Health Organization says healthy people don't need to wear face masks and that doing so won't provide added protection from the coronavirus.

Walter Dannenmaier

Maybe Ray doesn't particularly like to do stupid things. While the number of reported cases in the county is increasing, the GCDN graphs show almost no new deaths by COVID in the past month. The media and the government have done an exceptional job in scaring people. The body count isn't matching the rhetoric. Therefore, more rhetoric is clearly needed. Masks! Masks will save us! Why not go for those stylish beaked masks from the years of the Black Death? If we have to do something stupid, let's do something stylish and stupid.

Gary Miller

Jimmy why do you continue to prove you have a lower IQ than the bureaucrats making CYA rules?

Wayne D Holt

For those playing at home who find the City's rules confusing, this may help:

The City of Galveston's politicians closed our beaches even though it was never about the people who were using them (per City Manager Brian Maxwell's comments).

The City of Galveston's politicians think it makes sense to force struggling individual business owners to police the public more effectively than our entire police department is able to do.

Does that help? I didn't think so...

Bill Broussard

Wayne. I think the article was pretty clear on that point. Our Governor is embarrassed and taken aback by the huge spread that came with his optimistic reopening. That being said he’s looking away at decisions by local government because while he wants the spread halted he also wants to avoid the Texas pushback from mandating masks so he leaves municipalities zero choice on how to protect residents. They must go through business or be in defiance of the governors orders. Abbot is just fine letting local government take the heat while measures are taken to slow the spread

In the end my bet is abbot will have to close us up again because the spread is so fast. If business doesn’t like enforcing mask wearing it’s really not going to like closure. I think that’s why you can read about some businesses being happy about the order to wear masks....unlike you, they are very aware of what comes next and ...so is Abbott.

Ray Taft

Your huge spread come about because we are testing more and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would have fewer cases.

Health authorities had a back log in cases and released the results all at once. A false indicator of a sudden rise in cases.

Gov. Abbott said all that too. But maybe that’s when you stopped listening because you got bored?

Bailey Jones

"If we are unable to contain the spiraling spread of COVID-19, there will be more requirements put on businesses, including even considering have to ratchet back on the expansion of opening businesses in Texas. That’s the last thing that either I or those businesses want to do. So the best thing that we can all do is work on continuing to open up businesses but do so in ways that use safe practices that include wearing a mask." - Governor Abbott

Bill Broussard

Sorry to break it to you but not one medical professional has said testing causes Covid. If you meant to say testing reveals the spread that is already among us....I may be crazy but it seems better to know the enemy than to not. Either way, that’s a throw away line straight from Tulsa which staff said was a joke while the president said he doesn’t kid. Now your saying it too? We’re you kidding or do you actually think testing causes Covid? Cause if you do, your letting the Chinese off the hook and I’m sure they will appreciate the wisdom from Texas. If the Chinese are as smart as Bolton thinks they are, I’m sure they’ve come to expect profundity from Texas

Ray Taft

Mr. Broussard I find your irrelevant segue to avoid the truth really, really boring.

Comment deleted.
jimmy winston

Agreed.

Comment deleted.
Carlos Ponce

Ted is not playing nice, again.

Bailey Jones

Meanwhile, Texas is doing such a great job handling the pandemic that New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are now requiring a 14 day quarantine for anyone traveling from here. Meanwhile, the US is doing such a great job handling the pandemic that the EU is considering banning Americans from that continent starting next week.

But by all means - continue to complain about the effects of the virus on the economy while simultaneously refusing to do even the simplest of things to help it recover.

Bailey Jones

"If we are unable to contain the spiraling spread of COVID-19, there will be more requirements put on businesses, including even considering have to ratchet back on the expansion of opening businesses in Texas. That’s the last thing that either I or those businesses want to do. So the best thing that we can all do is work on continuing to open up businesses but do so in ways that use safe practices that include wearing a mask." - Governor Abbott

Carlos Ponce

"New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are now requiring a 14 day quarantine for anyone traveling from here. " Who cares? You can't fix what other states do. If I barred you from coming to my neighborhood, would you really care?

Bailey Jones

Is your neighborhood's economy based on tourism?

Carlos Ponce

Then why mention those states? Are they based on tourism? Faulty logic, Bailey.

Bailey Jones

Why mention states that quarantine people who visit Texas as tourists, Gracie? Is that what you're wondering? Think harder.

Gary Miller

Bailey> Checking temperatures is the simplest and most effective thing to do. Wearing a mask proves you are lower IQ than the bureaucrats. If you aren't infected you can't infect anyone, with or without a mask.

Bailey Jones

Gary, I guess you're not interested in the science, so I'll just keep posting it for people who are:

"The time from exposure to symptom onset (known as the incubation period) is thought to be three to 14 days, though symptoms typically appear within four or five days after exposure. We know that a person with COVID-19 may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience symptoms. Emerging research suggests that people may actually be most likely to spread the virus to others during the 48 hours before they start to experience symptoms."

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-youve-been-exposed-to-the-coronavirus

"There are reports of asymptomatic infections (detection of virus with no development of symptoms) and pre-symptomatic infections (detection of virus prior to development of symptoms) with SARS-CoV-2, but their role in transmission is not yet known." - CDC

"There is evidence that the novel coronavirus can be spread before an individual develops symptoms. " - National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

"The incubation period for COVID-19, which is the time between exposure to the virus (becoming infected) and symptom onset, is on average 5-6 days, however can be up to 14 days. During this period, also known as the “presymptomatic” period, some infected persons can be contagious. Therefore, transmission from a pre-symptomatic case can occur before symptom onset. " - WHO

Doug Sivyer

Jack Vaughan says: “I just think that people should be adult enough to decide what they want to do and not be told by the government all the time,” Vaughan said. “If you’re healthy, and you take care of yourself and you’re smart about it, it comes down to common sense.” This is the most ridiculous statement. Common sense you say? Does your common sense tell you if you yourself or someone else is infected with COVID? Absurd. Many people are not responsible enough to wear masks. That is why we are in the spot we are now and having to mandate this. Do you not listen to the news and see the increases of infected day after day after day? And yes, most of this is due to not social distancing and not wearing mask. It's called social spread. Wise up!

Bill Broussard

To Doug's point: bet that Houston bars are shut down by end of next week.

Ray Taft

Could be, because in Harris County they have a Democrat County Judge, who has shown she is more than willing to play politics.

And Houston has a Democrat mayor like Galveston.

Democrat politics means birds of a feather flock together, don’t you know.

Bill Broussard

OK. Now we know. It's Democrats who cause Covid and not expanded testing. As a life ;long Republican, I suspected as much. Just couldn't buy into the testing as cause but Democrats as the source is more believable. To think, our President said Covid was a Democratic hoax and all the time, the Democrats were really were the cause.You might not like a Democrat but apparently they are clever little devils to pull this off..

Here's the thing Ray, like it or not, boring or not, we have a fatal disease on our hands that's spreading like wildfire in Texas while other states that imposed strict social distancing are recovering well ahead of us. I am willing to blame Democrats as long as I also keep an eye on the data.

It's really pretty simple: If you come to Galveston wear a mask. End of story.

Ray Taft

Data shows it wasn’t as bad as the original hype said it would be.

Nothing is simple anymore. It’s complicated because of Democrats and their media accomplices.

If you don’t want to have to wear a mask, take the trip to the mainland to shop.

And with Democrats playing politics; it ain’t never going to end.

Doug Sivyer

Politics my ass! You thumb your noses at proven science, health experts and the CDC. Who the hell do you think your are speaking as an authority on this? What does politics have to do with fighting a pandemic that is raging out of control?

Jim Forsythe

Bars.

Gary Miller

Ray> we do know.

Jim Forsythe

If they are following guidelines they will lose alcohol license for 30 days.

Jim Forsythe

Bars, If they are mot following guidelines they will lose alcohol license for 30 days.

Gary Miller

Doug> The increase is not caused by healthy people not wearing a mask.

Comment deleted.
Ray Taft

Watch out y’all! “...whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Matthew 5:22

Jim Forsythe

Hitchcock has also requested that you wear a mask.

Terri Abraham

Now the state is running out of ICU beds. Texas Tribune says there's talk of putting patients in stadiums. Some hoax.

Bill Broussard

As of today Houston ICU’s are 97% full. And.... Houston is mainly democrat so I guess those crafty Democrats eat their own. If the virus was “going to

fade away” I wish it would get started

Bailey Jones

Thanks for the reminder - I needed to go to the Galveston Health Dept's page and get today's new cases. 226!

"This marks the largest number of new cases reported in a single day in Galveston County.

Today’s report includes an additional 1,633 tests, putting the positivity rate at 13.8%.

If there are not changes in behavior, we can expect to see the strain increase on hospitals if the positive case count continues to rise.

Social distancing AND wearing a cloth face covering AND proper hand washing hygiene ALL work to slow the spread of the virus.

But, it takes all of us working together."

Bill Broussard

I forget, is the county judge Republican or Democrat? I guess that I would need to know, according to Ray , so I can tell if this is Website is real news or fake news. Must be Republican cause there is no mask-up order...yet. There’s just a hope for the best sentiment

I would think it’s well past time to take this seriously and stop all the partisan none sense.

Carlos Ponce

Wear your mask on Friday. It's going to get dusty around here.

Ted Gillis

Yes, and I’m sure the republicans will name the allergies we get from the dust the Saharan Flu.

Carlos Ponce

May the red dust of the Sahara settle on your car and house.

Bailey Jones

Democrat dust.

Bill Broussard

DSHS Commissioner, Dr. John Hellerstedt, gives an update on COVID-19 in Texas.

"This is the biggest COVID-19 challenge Texas has faced since coronavirus hit our state."

"We need every single Texan to help."

How to help:

🏡Stay home when possible

😷Wear a face covering in public

↔️Stay 6 feet apart from others

🙌Wash your hands often

🤒If sick, get tested then stay home

🧼Clean your surroundings

🤧Cover coughs and sneezes

👉Don't touch your face

❤️Together for a #HealthyTexas

Important and useful #COVID19 info and links:

Open Texas Checklists: open.texas.gov

Testing near you: covidtest.tdem.texas.gov

COVID-19 symptoms: http://bit.ly/2IV3uRh

Caring for someone sick: https://bit.ly/2wf7sS7

All #COVID19TX info: dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.