NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — On Tuesday night, New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman signed an order requiring face masks at all businesses in the city limits.
"Under this new order, all commercial entities in New Braunfels that provide goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a health and safety policy that requires all employees and visitors to wear face coverings whenever separation of 6-feet or more is not feasible," a release stated.
This follows similar orders in San Antonio and other Texas cities amid a spike in cases and hospitalizations in the state. Governor Abbott has stood firm against allowing local governments to punish individuals for not wearing masks, but he supports mandating that businesses require them.
Comal County reported 73 new cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the area to 419. 314 of those cases are in the New Braunfels area, according to Comal County Public Health, where two employees have tested positive.
New Braunfels City Council postponed their most recent meeting due to possible exposure, and staff members at a nursing home and a city-run camp have also tested positive.
The new order does urge residents to wear masks and practice social distancing, though they can't be punished if they don't. Like the other orders around the state, the responsibility falls on local businesses.
"Businesses will have until Sunday, June 28th to develop their policy and have it implemented when enforcement begins on Monday, June 29th, although the city’s goal is to educate and seek voluntary compliance. In an effort to help local businesses comply with this order, a sample health and safety policy is available as well as signage that outlines the minimum requirements of the new order. Those resources are available at nbtexas.org/businessresources."