Order by the County Judge of Fort Bend County Regarding Use of Facial Protection
WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, a Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency was issued to allow Fort Bend County to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of Fort Bend County residents;
Whereas, on March 13, 2020, a Declaration of State of Disaster was issued by Governor Abbott to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of Texans;
Whereas, on March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump acknowledged the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing strict new guidelines to limit people’s interactions, including that Americans should avoid groups of more than 10 people; and
Whereas, after expiration of the Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency issued on March 12, 2020 and extended by Fort Bend County Commissioners Court, the County Judge subsequently issued an additional Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency on June 23, 2020, to implement recommendations to slow the continued rapid spread of COVID-19.
NOW THEREFORE, I, COUNTY JUDGE OF FORT BEND COUNTY, TEXAS, PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY VESTED BY TEXAS GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 418, HEREBY FIND AND ORDER:
SECTION 1. That the findings and recitations set out in the preamble to this Order are found to be true and correct and they are hereby adopted by the County Judge and made a part hereof for all purposes. This Order shall incorporate and adopt the most recent executive order GA-26 issued by Governor Greg Abbott on June 3, 2020, and any subsequent orders by the Governor relating to the expanded opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster
SECTION 2. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the following measures shall be required, effective as of 12:01 a.m., June 25, 2020, and continuing through 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2020, unless a declaration of the local disaster for public health emergency is no longer in effect.
- Health and Safety Policy – Commercial Entities – All commercial entities with a physical location in Fort Bend County providing goods and services directly to the public, which shall not include churches or other places of worship, must require that all employees or visitors to their business premises or other facilities wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public. The commercial entity may also require the implementation of other mitigating measures designed to control and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 such as temperature checks or health screenings. Commercial entities must post the required mitigating measures including but not limited to those required by this Order in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide notice to employees and visitors of all health and safety requirements. Failure of the commercial entity to comply with the requirements of this Order may result in a fine not to exceed $500.00 for each violation.
- All commercial entities are encouraged, as their financial limitations will allow, to provide face coverings including masks to their visitors who are unable to provide their own.
- Face coverings are not required to be worn in either of the following circumstances:
- Outside facilities;
- When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk;
- While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment;
- While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks; or
- When consuming food and drink.
- Fort Bend County Justice Center Complex – It is Ordered that the Screening and Face Covering provisions of the COVID-19 Operating Plan for the Fort Bend County Judiciary as set forth below are hereby adopted and implementation ordered.
- When individuals attempt to enter the court building, assigned county staff will ask the individuals if they are feeling feverish; have a cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing; or have been in close contact with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19. Individuals who indicate yes to any of these questions will be refused admittance to the court building.
- When individuals attempt to enter the court building, assigned county staff will use an infrared thermometer to determine the temperature of the individual. Individuals whose temperature equals or exceeds 100.0ºF will be refused admittance to the court building.
- Inmates being transported from the jail to the court building will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and have their temperature taken prior to transport. Inmates with symptoms or a temperature equal to or above 99.6ºF will not be transported to the court building.
- Staff who are screening individuals entering the court building will be provided personal protective equipment, including masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizer wipes.
- Face Coverings.
- All visitors entering the court building will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
- Visitors will be encouraged to bring cloth face coverings with them, but if the individual does not have a cloth face covering, a disposable face mask will be provided.
- Visitors who will be required to be in the court building for over 1 hour will be provided disposable masks and required to wear them while in the court building if the supply is available.
- Nothing in this Order shall require the use of a mask or cloth face covering by anyone for whom doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety because of a medical condition, a child in a child care setting, anyone under the age of 2 years, or an older child if the parent, guardian or person responsible for the child is unable to place the mask safely on the child’s face.
- If a person declines to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical condition as described above, such person shall not be required to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.
SECTION 3. Fort Bend County will post this Order on its website. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order or any application of it to any person, structure, gathering, or circumstance is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, then such decision will not affect the validity of this Order.
SECTION 4. This Order applies to all unincorporated and incorporated areas within the boundaries of Fort Bend County and shall be effective until 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2020, unless a declaration of the local disaster for public health emergency is no longer in effect.
SECTION 5. To the greatest extent possible, this Order shall be interpreted as consistent with and supplemental to any executive order issued by the Texas Governor. All provisions of the executive orders of the Texas Governor either existing or as, if and when issued, which are made applicable to all jurisdictions by law shall be automatically incorporated into and constitute terms of this Order, enforceable as if set forth herein without necessity for the issuance of any further orders.
KP George, Fort Bend County Judge