While areas in Texas with rising COVID-19 numbers are starting to enforce a mandatory mask order, Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald said Tuesday that county residents “should be responsible enough to wear a mask if they cannot socially distance.”
On Monday, Matagorda County reported 21 new COVID-19 cases as the county continues to rise in its amount of positive cases.
Areas such as Harris County, Houston, Galveston, Bexar County and the Dallas area are already enforcing mandatory mask orders. These orders place the burden on businesses that have recently reopened to enforce the rule or face a $1,000 fine.
“If a mandatory mask Order were in place, it would have to be enforced, so our law enforcement agencies would have to step up and do so,” McDonald said.
Governor Greg Abbott discussed several steps during a Monday press briefing how the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus in recent weeks—including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in the state of Texas, and it must be corralled,” said Governor Abbott. “We have several strategies to reduce the spread without shutting Texas back down, but it is up to all of us to do our part to protect ourselves and others. We need all Texans to follow the safety protocols developed by our team of medical experts, including staying home if you are sick or at risk, sanitizing your hands, social distancing, and wearing face coverings or masks. COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, but neither has our ability to slow the spread of it. Texans have shown that we don’t have to choose between jobs and health—we can have both. We can protect lives while also restoring livelihoods. Together, we will keep Texans safe and we will keep our state open for business.”
Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s press conference Monday, Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen issued the following statement regarding the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases statewide:
“I have become increasingly infuriated by so-called advocates who are ditching the mask in the middle of a pandemic as an expression of freedom and liberty, while expressly killing the freedoms and liberties we cherish: The liberty and freedom to go to work. The liberty and freedom to have customers that keep you in business. The liberty and freedom of going to churches, restaurants and concerts with your family and friends. The liberty and freedom of sending your kids off to school. The liberty and freedom of a thriving economy for everyone.
“If these so-called patriots persist in flaunting their disregard for others, we’re in for a very long, dark summer with a deadly array of medical and economic consequences — not because of government restrictions, but because these agitators have fueled uncertainty and fear within decent and responsible individuals who understand the health risks and the consequences of our medical resources being strained beyond capacity.
“It’s time to mask up. It’s time to employ personal responsibility -- a key tenet of ensuring liberty and freedom. It’s time to stand up to the mask naysayers who speak loudly but act irresponsibly as they destroy the liberty and freedom, we ALL deserve.”
McDonald said he has heard all of the talk going around Matagorda County that the COVID-19 is just a simple flu or cold and said those people need to think of the older generations that still populate this county.
“My message to residents of Matagorda County who are skeptical is to talk to one of their neighbors who is a bit older, like I am , who has had the COVID 19 virus and ask them how they were affected by it,” McDonald said. “Perhaps then they will realize that this can be a serious illness for those with underlying health issues.”