City issues 11th Declaration of Disaster; updates for businesses - FOX34 Lubbock

City issues 11th Declaration of Disaster; updates for businesses, city organization

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Mayor Dan Pope refuses to burden businesses with expecting customers to wear masks. Instead, his newest disaster declaration mandates all businesses will require employees to wear masks. That's effective starting Monday. 

His original draft proposal included the option for requiring customers to wear masks. Despite support from city council members, the mayor removed that from his order. 

All visitors to city buildings, including Citizens Tower or the police department, must wear a face covering when there's not enough space for social distance.

However, there will be no penalties, civil or criminal, for any non-compliance. It's an order in name only. It's more "strong encouragement" from the city to wear a face mask, maintain social distance and practicing good hygiene. 

During the meeting, council heard testimony from doctors encouraging an order mandating public masking. Dr. Joshua Hill and Dr. Ronald Cook are both family doctors and say a face mask is one of the most effective, and last tools available, to slow the virus. 

"This virus goes no further, typically, than six feet. So I don't need a face mask or facial covering if I am six feet away from somebody. So in this particular setting, I don't need to be any closer and I don't need to wear a facial covering. It's a mild inconvenience if you cannot do those sorts of things," Dr. Cook said.

"This is real, this is easily transmitted and it has the potential to be fatal. And whenever I say fatal it can be quickly. Patients feel well, develop a fever, develop respiratory distress and may end up on a ventilator within hours. And some people don't and that's scary in my field messing with something that you don't know that's the biggest fear that we have," Dr. Hill added.

The rest of the mayor's new declaration focuses on large gatherings. There can be no crowds of more than 100 people in Lubbock without Mayor Pope's approval. Out in the county, gatherings must be approved by County Judge Curtis Parrish. Those rules can be enforced by the police, the fire department or the health department. That does not apply to face masks as per the governor's mandate. 

The new declaration goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Below is a news released issued by the City of Lubbock: 

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope and the City Council approved the 11th Declaration of Disaster in response to COVID-19 at its Special City Council meeting on Friday, June 26. The reason for updating the Declaration is, primarily, due to the recent rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in Lubbock County, and the associated increase in the positivity rate. The 11th Declaration accomodates the changes set forth Friday, June 26, by Texas Governor Greg Abbott's Executive Order 28, and mandates the following updates for businesses, the City organization and outdoor gatherings:

• All businesses in the City of Lubbock must implement a health and safety policy that must require that all employees wear facial coverings when in an area where social distancing of a least six feet is not feasible.
• Businesses must place the health and safety policy in a highly visible location to provide notice to employees of all requirements. 
• Pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order, outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people must submit a plan for approval by the mayor of the event may not be held. 
• Individuals at outdoor events of more than 100 people where social distancing is not feasible are required to wear facial coverings. 
• Individuals visiting City of Lubbock facilities are required to wear facial coverings. This also applies to city employees. This is required when in an area that at least six feet of social distancing is not feasible. 
• Consistent with the governor's executive order, no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failture to wear a facial covering. 

These requirements go into effect at 12:01 a.m. June 29, 2020, and will continue until July 28, 2020.

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