Violators of mask order will be cited, fined starting in August, Mayor Turner says

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced during a news conference Monday that police will start issuing citations for those who don’t follow Gov. Greg Abbott’s state-mandated mask order.

Turner started the news conference by giving his condolences on the death of another Houston firefighter who died from COVID-19 related complications. He also addressed the death of another police officer who died from coronavirus complications. Turner said both first responders worked in the Kingwood area.

According to Turner, Houston police have been instructed to start issuing warnings for the first violation and then citations for the second violation in August, after first responders are being impacted. He said violators will be cited a $250 fine.

“So please, don’t get mad at the police officers. It’s all about public health and driving the numbers down,” the mayor said.

Turner said for months, the city has focused on educating the public on safety and protecting themselves, but now, people will get fined in an effort to keep the case numbers down. He said the month of August has become critical with flu season around the corner.

COVID-19 cases

Turner said more people tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

The Houston Health Department is reporting 1,104 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the city’s total to 50,896. The department also reported six new deaths, bringing the city’s death total to 478. All patients were Hispanic, Turner said.

The mayor said although hospitalizations in the city have declined and the positivity rate has dropped, the positivity rate as of Monday is 17.6%. The city’s goal is 5%.

Houston fire and police department

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo gave their condolences after the second death of a Houston firefighter. Acevedo said 172 police officers are in quarantine and 108 of those have tested positive for COVID-19.

New testing site, community spread

Dr. David Persse, director of the Houston Health Department, said the number of those getting tested has decreased and emphasized the importance of getting tested for COVID-19 to help slow the spread and tracking.

Turner also announced the opening of a new city-funded testing site on Aug. 8. He said the site will be located near Minute Maid Park.

The mayor said there has been too many street and house parties taking place during the pandemic. He said these parties are contributing to the city’s community spread of the virus.

Watch the full press conference below:

WATCH LIVE: Mayor Turner to provide update on plan to slow coronavirus spread

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, August 3, 2020

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