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Mask order begins in Port Aransas on Wednesday

A facemask order is coming to Port Aransas beaches starting on Wednesday.
Posted at 8:35 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 11:14:39-04

PORT ARANSAS, Texas — All businesses in Port Aransas will require employees and customers to wear face coverings after an order was issued last week by Mayor Charles R. Bujan.

While masks and face coverings are not mandated, they are recommended for many states to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you feel unsafe, and you feel a mask is safe, I believe you should wear it," Port Aransas resident Mark Hein said. "For those who don’t believe in it, I don’t believe that’s right for us to be forced to do anything."

With this order, if someone walks into a business without a face covering, they’ll be asked to leave.

Owner of Montego Bay & Ziggy's Hideout Lezlie Keebler says she has other ideas.

“It just doesn’t make any sense at all, and I am going to tell you that my guests, the ones that are coming out to eat, don’t want to wear a mask," Keebler said. "They are very irate about this whole thing with the masks and the continued social distancing. They are ready to get over it and on with it."

Businesses that don’t comply with the order could face up to a $1,000 fine.

“Businesses are struggling already and how can you want to put that burden on somebody that is already struggling?” Hein said.

The threat of a potential fine is leading Keebler to consider closing her business.

“If they come in and fine my business, I am going to close till things normalize," she said. "I am not going to stay open. I am not going to pay a fine, and I will fight it because I don’t believe it is legal."

The new order will go into effect at 12:01 p.m. on Wednesday through 11:59 p.m. on July 1. The goal is to allow businesses to remain open while still keeping people safe from the coronavirus.

The order requires that face coverings do not need to be worn in the following circumstances:

• When outside.

• When driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver.

• When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk.