Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will amend an existing order mandating that all businesses in Harris County develop and post a health and safety policy for employees and customers, which at a minimum includes a face covering requirement. As part of the order, everyone over the age of 10 must wear a face covering while in businesses or on commercial properties, including employees and all visitors and customers.
- The order has been extended until at least 11:59 PM on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
- A sample health and safety policy is available here: https://www.readyharris.org/county-orders
- Full text of the order will be made available here: https://www.readyharris.org/Stay-Safe
Understanding the Order
- Businesses must develop a health and safety plan for employees and customers to protect them from COVID-19. At a minimum, this plan must include that all employees, customers and visitors (over the age of 10) that enter businesses or commercial properties must wear a face covering.
- Businesses must post and inform customers/visitors that they are required to wear a face covering while on the premises.
- Businesses reserve the right to refuse service to those not wearing a face covering with exceptions for those who cannot wear one for medical reasons (see exceptions below).
- Businesses who do not comply with this order could face a fine (see enforcement below).
- Face coverings may be a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief, as long as it covers the nose and mouth.
Exceptions to Face Covering Order
- You must wear a face covering at all times while in businesses or on commercial property, except:
- When eating or drinking;
- Face coverings should be worn to restaurants, but can be removed while eating/drinking.
- When you are exercising or doing physical activities; or,
- When wearing a face covering poses a mental, physical, safety or security risk (i.e. someone who has trouble breathing).
Choosing and Wearing a Face Covering
Harris County cannot provide face coverings to residents. We encourage residents to purchase or make a face covering to wear.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has guidance on how to properly wear face coverings and how to make your own face coverings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html
Continue Good Health Habits
Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing because these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
Businesses who do not require customers/visitors/employees to wear face coverings under this Order can face a fine of up to $1,000 per violation.
To report businesses in violation of the County Health and Safety Order, which requires face coverings, click here or call 832-839-6941.