Mayor Turner says Houston won’t enforce $1,000 fine for residents not wearing a mask

HOUSTON – From early Thursday morning to the afternoon, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's message was simple.

"Fines, I'm not even focused on that," Turner said.

Turner made his position clear regarding Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's nose and mouth cover order. Houston Police Department will not fine residents.

On Wednesday, Judge Hidalgo said anyone in violation of the face mask order would face a potential $1,000 fine.

The announcement rocked the area, especially law enforcement.

"All you are doing is putting our police officers in an extremely bad spot with our community," said Joe Gamaldi of the Houston Police Officers Union.

In an interview with KPRC 2 Investigates, Gamaldi called the order unconstitutional. He shared the advising the union is providing to HPD officers.

"We are telling all of our officers; this order appears to be unconstitutional. So that means you have discretion, discretion, discretion," he said.

KPRC 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice said he sees two things emerging from the county's order.

"Lawsuits, lawsuits, maybe some more lawsuits," he said.

He also said the order would increase aggravation between residents and HPD.

"I can't think of a worst time if you will to create needless conflict between HPD Houston's finest and Houston citizens," said Wice.

Less than 24 hours since Harris County announced the order, which will go into effect Monday, residents in Fort Bend county were lined up at a fabric store in Sugar land.

"If Harris County did it, Fort Bend is going to do it, and it's the best thing to do," said Fort Bend resident Shandle Pearson.

On Thursday afternoon, Fort Bend said it would not be issuing a mask covering order.

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