On July 2, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate ordering Texans living in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering while inside a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces when social distancing isn’t possible.
The order provides several exceptions, including children younger than 10 years old, those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, people who are eating or drinking, and those exercising outdoors.
The order specified that those attending a protest or demonstration with over 10 people who could not socially distance were not excepted.
Abbott also banned outdoor gatherings of over 10 people unless local officials approve.
Contrary to his earlier positions, Abbott’s order provided that first-time offenders would receive a written or verbal warning, with a fine of up to $250 for the second time, and for every subsequent violation. The order specifies that no one can get jail time for a violation.
Around the state
On July 7 organizers announced that the State Fair of Texas slated for this fall was canceled because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
State Fair Board Chair Gina Norris said in a written statement, “In the current climate, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love.”
The fair was rescheduled for Sept. 24 through Oct. 17, 2021. More than 2.5 million people attended the fair last year.
Fair organizers said this was its first cancellation since World War II.
The latest data show 2,431,861 Texans had been tested for the coronavirus, with 200,557 testing positive, or about 8.2%, up from last week, and 2,655 deaths, or about 1.3% of those testing positive, down slightly from last week.
There are currently 94,120 active cases in Texas, with 8,698 hospitalized, or about 9.2% of active cases, up slightly from last week.
Texas currently has 12,852 hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients, and 5,300 ventilators.
In the Tri-County
In a regular Alpine City Council meeting Tuesday, members voted to extend the city’s emergency ordinance to keep in line with Abbott’s latest mandate.
Mayor Andy Ramos praised the local business community for its cooperation with the face mask order, adding, “Everyone could be a possible candidate for the virus, but if we do the right thing, we can get by this. The sooner we do, the sooner we can get some kind of normalcy for our business community.”
As of July 7, Brewster County reported 146 COVID-19 positive test results out of 2,478 tested, 81 recoveries, and one death.
On July 2, Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River were closed to all visitors until further notice after a park resident tested positive for COVID-19.
No entry is allowed into the park, except to employees, residents, and other authorized persons. Through traffic is prohibited, along with travel on Terlingua Ranch Road within park boundaries.
For the latest updates and park status, visit the Big Bend COVID-19 Updates page.
There were 12 unemployment claims in Brewster County for the period July 1-4.