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Counties must apply to be exempt from governor’s mask order

Texas counties with 20 or fewer active cases can apply for an exemption to the face-covering requirement, but with the holiday weekend, officials worry it will take days for approval
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.(KXII)
Published: Jul. 3, 2020 at 2:06 PM CDT
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WEST TEXAS, Texas (KOSA) - The mask order issued by Governor Gregg Abbott on Thursday is causing some confusion around the state. For counties with small populations, like Jeff Davis County, their obstacles are unique.

The mask order that went into effect Friday at noon provides some exemptions for counties that have lower infection rates. But those exemptions are not automatic.

According to Governor Abbott’s executive order, counties with 20 or fewer active cases can apply for an exemption to the face-covering requirement. But that application then must be approved. And thanks to the holiday weekend, that approval isn’t likely to happen for days.

For counties like Jeff Davis, this leads to some issues. According to Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Francell, while Jeff Davis officially has only 4 cases, they have almost 200 outstanding tests.

Because they don’t know the true number of active cases, Francell said they aren’t even going to apply for the exemption.

According to Francell, that means for the time being the executive order applies to the residents of Jeff Davis County the same way it does to larger counties with more active cases.

Copyright 2020 KOSA. All rights reserved.

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