Kerr County has been exempted from complying with the governor’s July 2 face-covering order.
County spokesman Lisa Walter confirmed the exemption, and the county is listed as an exempted county on the website of The Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Unless the TDEM agrees that a county has shown it has fewer than 20 active COVID-19 infections, Governor Greg Abbott’s order requires every person in Texas to "wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.”
Because Kerr County hasn’t had 20 or more cases for a few weeks and many people seem to disregard the order, county commissioners this week agreed the exemption should be sought, and Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly applied for the exemption on Monday.
Although the public is no longer legally bound to follow the governor's order in Kerr County, local officials have noted that organizations may still choose to require masks in their establishments.
“I think many businesses are going to continue to do it from a liability standpoint,” said Kerr County Precinct 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz during a Sept. 14 meeting.
Letz, who tested positive for COVID-19 at one point but was asymptomatic, also noted that county elected officials are free to stick to their current infection-control policies. The district clerk’s office, for example, has been prohibiting more than one customer at a time inside the office.
Kerr County Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer released a statement on social media Wednesday asking people to respect one another’s choices to wear, or not wear, face coverings.
“Also we must all remember that our local businesses have the right to set their own rules about masks,” Hierholzer posted.
He added that he understands both sides of the issue and said regardless of how each person feels, everyone needs to respect one another’s personal and business decisions regarding face masks.
“We will all get through this IF we stay united and unified,” Hierholzer said. “God Bless.”