Following several other Texas cities, Galveston has issued an order requiring businesses to mandate their customers wear face masks.

The order, which goes into effect at one minute after midnight tonight, requires all employees and visitors to a business premises to wear face coverings when proximity to other people will be less than 6 feet.

Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough hinted last week he might issue an order ahead of the Galveston City Council’s regular meeting Thursday, when the council is set to discuss its stance on masking.

“It raises the consciousness of being more careful,” Yarbrough said.

Businesses that don’t follow through on the order will be subjected to fines of up to $1,000 but will have five days after the order’s effective date — Tuesday morning — to comply, according to the order language.

Galveston is the first city in the county to issue a masking order with fines.

La Marque issued a proclamation this weekend urging people to wear masks, but people can’t be fined for violating that plea.

This is a developing story. Read more in Tuesday's print edition.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri. 


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(15) comments

Bailey Jones

Probably not necessary since I'm sure that all patriotic Americans are already wearing masks - since that's the least they can do to help get the economy moving again. And surely all patriotic Americans will do at least the very least that they can do.

Walter Dannenmaier

I recommend that Jim Yarbrough issue an order requiring all patrons to "baa" like sheep on entering a place of business. This will demonstrate that we are SERIOUS people and can follow irrational government orders.

Jack Cross

That is a terrible idea and will hurt business that is already struggling. We should not concentrate on the number of infections but the number of death which stands at 40. Most of these are in nursing homes or over 65 with pre existing conditions. The odds for most of the population dying from this virus is a thousand times less than getting in your car and driving. In our every day life, we apply a standard of; "Risks Vs Benefits" when flying, driving and other activities, then We decide that the benefit outweighs the risk. By requiring a mask be worn, the Galveston Government is overstepping its legal powers. The cure it is mandating is worse than the desease and the effects of these cures will be long lasting with some business not coming back and jobs lost.

Wayne D Holt

100% rational thinking that has the benefit of science to back it up. They should back out the numbers of jail populations and senior facilities to begin with to get a true idea of what the risk is to the general population.

Our national nightmare hasn't been this virus, it has been the wave of media hysteria and government overreach in response to it. The good news is the new rule doesn't appear to be enforceable if you remain at least six feet away from anyone when inside a business. I plan on staying at least that far away from anyone else. I don't plan on continually rebreathing what my lungs expel just to make the irrational feel comfy.

I can't help but notice that the mayor and council seem content in micromanaging what we wear on our face during a trip to the grocery store but still haven't made a peep about 500,000+ bikers expected here on the island in a few months. Perhaps like the recent protest waivers, the virus attacks during individual lockdowns of small businesses but if the event is either lucrative or politically correct enough, the virus automatically reverts to a dormant state for the during of the festivities.

Bill Cochrane

III. Face Coverings – General Public. That all people 10 years or older shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place where it is difficult to keep six feet away from other people or working in areas that involve close proximity with other coworkers. The CDC advises face coverings for people 2 years or older.

( So . . . The Galveston version of CDC mandates that humans under 10 years of age are exempt? Both parents and several friends could have the virus but they are not required to wear masks?

noah page

All festivals and events should be cancelled in Galveston through December. Time for the city to make more tough decisions. The city budget and police are already outnumbered by party crowds every weekend. A city government must be consistent when health and safety is the issue.

Walter Dannenmaier

Not dramatic enough to show that WE ARE SERIOUS PEOPLE. We could have closed the Causeway in the initial hysteria. Better now to destroy the Causeway. Mandate all citizens remain off the streets until the MAYOR feels safe.

Bill Cochrane

Here's how silly this is.

It's agreed that the main way to spread this virus is by touching your face area with your HANDS. So, you go to a store and the store employee HANDS you a mask so they don't lose a sale. Yes, HANDS you a mask. With their HANDS! What if that employee has just sneezed into their HANDS and now HANDS you a contaminated mask for you to put on with your HANDS? I may be wrong, but I don't think the stores have sterile masks to HAND out using sterile tongs.

Paul Sivon

Only an issue for people dumb enough to take a mask to the store.

Paul Sivon

Correction ... dumb enough not to take a mask...

Wayne D Holt

Only dumb enough for people who believe the flimsy paper masks that are being given out are effective. Water vapor expelled from normal breathing will pass through the mask on exhalation. The Covid-19 virus is many orders of magnitude smaller than water vapor; this is the proverbial screen door in a submarine.

Much like stripping to the waist while measuring shampoo bottle size at the airport, this is a form of street theater to show us rubes the political class is on the case. Ten minutes searching unpoliticized medical sources online will be enough to disabuse the credulous of this urban mask myth.

Wayne D Holt

For those who are serious about understanding the risk trends for the general population, the following are all significant data points you at minimum will want to know:

1) The fatalities as a percentage of the total cases confirmed as virus deaths; 2) the utilization rate of ICU and other urgent treatments as a percentage of total cases; 3) the numbers when prison/jail populations and senior care facilities are backed out; 4) the testing trend line vis a vis past testing in the same populations.

This will get you much closer to the actual risk you face. It is safe to say the risk of injury/death to you of getting in your car and driving to a testing site is much higher than the risk from the virus if you are in the general population without comorbidity.

The City seems to have a very one-dimensional understanding of the risk, at least if you base it on public communications and their response to this issue.

Ted Gillis

Wayne, if Mayor Yarborough had to explain the reasoning to the general population in your terms, most of them would loose interest, yawn, shrug their shoulders and then move on before he could get to the point. “One-dimensional” is all he’s got space for.

Wayne D Holt

Ted, this may be the first time I've been able to say I 100% agree with you. And that just shows that as long as the public is content to let people in positions of authority make specious claims using misapprehended data, we will be content to march anywhere they tell us to, jump through any hoop they erect and consider ourselves lucky to have such benevolent rulers.

The list of "firsts" that government at all levels has dared with this virus is too long to list but those who follow these issues closely will understand that most of us have been content to sell our birthright for a mess of pottage. The careful observer will conclude the bargain was a very bad idea.

Walter Dannenmaier

I have a new idea for the consideration of the City of Galveston. I will be delighted to wear a MASK while shopping in Galveston, if city officials will all wear GAGS as long as the mask order is in effect. Until then, I will drive over to Texas City to shop.

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