Face masks now mandated in public in El Paso County; other changes announced


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Residents in El Paso County will now be required to wear face masks or cloth coverings when out in public, El Paso’s mayor and county judge said Thursday afternoon.

The requirement — an addendum to the city-county COVID-19 emergency directive — applies to people ages two and up.

“It’s especially mandated for employees of essential businesses, should’ve been to begin with,” Mayor Dee Margo said during an online city briefing.

The city said the rule would take effect at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

The mandate does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated or exercising outdoors (six feet away from others), city officials said.

“Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand-washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus,” a city statement read.

Health officials said the number of COVID-19 cases grew by 29 Thursday, for a total of 674 cases in El Paso. There were no new deaths reported Thursday in El Paso. That number remains at 10.

There are currently 23 people hospitalized, 21 in the ICU. Nine of the 21 ICU patients are currently on ventilators.

Travel remains restricted to “essential” activities like visiting grocery stores, gas stations, banks, and doctor’s offices.

Margo also announced other changes to the emergency directive:

  • Retail-to-go will now be allowed in El Paso County. Trained and screened employees must deliver products curbside to a customer’s vehicle trunk or they must deliver them to a home. Stores must also follow all CDC guidelines and payments must be made online or by phone.
  • Franklin Mountain State Park remains closed, however El Pasoans can now use walking paths/trails at city parks. People are not allowed, however, to congregate in groups.
  • The city and county have also removed the rule requiring people who travel 100 miles outside of El Paso to self-quarantine for two weeks upon return.

The city said people can call 3-1-1 to report non-compliance.

You can see the city’s full amended directive here (face mask language is at the bottom).

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