El Paso, TX

El Paso Businesses Defy the Governor's Executive Order to Wear a Mask

Tom Handy

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COVID Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels

With the number of residents with the coronavirus, El Paso businesses require their customers to wear a mask. Governor Abbott requires Texas businesses to open 100% on March 10 but many businesses quickly insisted their customer would still wear a mask.

Alamo Drafthouse and Deadbeach Brewery announced they will still require wearing a mask.

On Twitter, Alamo Drafthouse tweeted,

"We are only following the guidance of the CDC and medical experts, not politicians. Right now, at what we hope is the beginning of the end of COVID, the health of our teams and our guests remains this company's top priority."

Craft + Social located at 305 E. Franklin Ave. stated they want to provide for the safety of their staff and customers and require wearing a mask in the pub.

Cafe Central located at 109 N. Oregon St. said their staff will wear their masks and they ask customers to do the same.

Red Door Vintage located at 2225 Montana Ave. require customers to wear a mask and will limit the number of customers in the store.

Elemi Restaurant located at 313 N. Kansas St. posted a photo created by artist Frida Kahlo that said “No mask, no service.”

El Paso Mayor Oscar Lesser and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego urge residents not to let their guard down.

Several facilities will require the use of masks such as hospitals. government buildings, colleges, and the El Paso International Airport. Several businesses such as car dealers GM and Toyota, and large chains Target, and Albertsons will require customers to wear a mask.

Samaniego said, “We’re not saying we shouldn’t open businesses. We’re sensitive about the economy not opening now. We’re talking about the timing. We’re talking about the timing and the circumstances… We are trying to open in the best possible way. If our vaccine (rate) were ahead of us, if we were in a situation where we feel we could open, we’d be pushing this, we’d be celebrating going back to normal. But it’s not the time.”

The legal authority to override the governor is limited for the city of El Paso. Recent numbers show that El Paso has a hospitalization rate of 14.2% slightly shy of the 15% requirement for seven days requiring businesses to limit business occupancy. As of March 3, there were 280 bodies in mobile morgues and 300 deaths under investigation.

Mayor Lesser said the city was the worst in the country in terms of COVID-19 in November.

Lesser is requiring his 160 car dealership employees to wear their masks. He has also talked to local businesses to protect their customers and ensure their safety.

The Mayor didn’t want to increase the number of COVID-related deaths which is over 2,000 people.

Mayor Lesser lost his mother to COVID in November and his brother in December. Lesser sent Governor Abbott a letter stressing the need for masks.

"I share this very personal story not to seek sympathy, but to convey to you that when I speak about face masks, I do so not only in my role as Mayor leading our wondering City of El Paso, but as someone who is deeply aware of the power and protection that wearing face masks can provide an individual,"

Several other Texas cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are requiring masks to be worn in its city facilities. Indoor facilities include the libraries, police and fire departments, convention centers, and transportation hubs.

A federal government order can fine people $250 for a first offense and up to $1,500 for repeat offenders for not wearing a mask in transportation hubs that fall under federal regulation.

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