Galveston City Council votes 5-2 to extend mandatory mask order through September

HOUSTON – A mask order issued by Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough earlier this week has been extended for residents through the end of September after a 5-2 vote by the Galveston City Council Thursday evening.

The residents in the city of Galveston are required to wear face coverings in all Galveston businesses that serve the public. The order issued Monday was to remain in effect until June 30 before the city council voted to extend it till Sept. 30.

The order includes a provision that requires people to wear masks in a way that it covers their nose and mouth.

“Mayor Jim Yarbrough signed on Monday an executive order requiring commercial entities that provide goods or services directly to the public to establish a health and safety policy requiring face coverings for customers aged ten or older. The face coverings must cover the customer’s nose and mouth,” officials wrote in a press release earlier this week.

City officials say the order came in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the city and county.

“This is a matter of public safety,” Yarbrough said in a press release earlier this week. “Medical professionals largely agree that wearing a face-covering reduces the transmission of this virus and, aside from staying home, is one of the most effective steps we can take to protect others. We’re at a critical time with a rising number of cases and I believe this science-backed, common-sense approach is good public policy.”

The order requires:

  • Commercial entities in Galveston that provide goods or services directly to the public to develop and implement a health and safety policy requiring employees and visitors to wear face coverings when in the business and in close contact with others
  • The order also limits mass gatherings within the city and codifies the city’s practice of limiting visitors in City Hall and requiring temperature screenings for entry
  • Per Gov. Abbott’s executive order, no individual, business, entity, or organization shall schedule, host, or conduct any outdoor gathering reasonably anticipated to attract more than 100 participants unless approved by the mayor with the consultation of the local health authority

Business owners, employees and customers respond to the mask order in Galveston.

“The rules are the rules. If it prevents somebody from getting sick, just wear it,” said LeeAnn Winebrenner, a bartender and manager at The Black Pearl.

The Black Pearl has a sign on the front door telling customers to cover up.

“We have to keep ours on but they can remove theirs once they’re seated and eating,” Winebrenner said.

Market Station bartender Jared Glover said most of his customers have been understanding.

"Most people don't like it, you know, but we got to get through it somehow," Glover said.

It's not that simple for boutique owner Emma Robach.

“If they say it’s going to help, then absolutely we would love to help but at the same time, some people don’t want to wear the mask and it’s -- how are you going to turn away customers?” Robach said.

Read the full order below: