WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Folks must now make sure they have a mask ready to go.
As masks are required in Texas counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases, enforcement is on the horizon.
$250 is how much you may give up if you don’t wear a mask.
“The first violation of the standard is just a warning, subsequent violations are subject to a penalty,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
“The clarity, it’s gonna be an interesting day in the courtroom to determine did that person get a warning before that,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said.
Governor Abbott said under no circumstances can a Texan be put in jail for not covering their face.
Wichita County Sheriff David Duke explained how his deputies will go about enforcement.
“If we have a repeat call back on it or a deputy says go back out there and check on them and they haven’t conformed to our first warning, then we’ll have to start writing citations for it,” Duke said.
Duke and Gossom said as long as people adhere, law enforcement doesn’t want this to be a hot ticket item.
“I’d rather give somebody a ticket for reckless driving or speeding or possession of drug paraphernalia a lot quicker than someone just having a good time, but they’re also not using their common sense to wear a mask and stay away from certain things,” Duke said.
“No one wants this to be a mass ticketing effort, but I think also at the point someone just flat refuses, then they’ll be ticketed,” Gossom said.
With a warning first, Gossom hopes it’s a teaching lesson once the penalized person goes to court.
“The judge might make you pay court costs of this and a dollar fine, then that’s now on the record, so that second offense when they get that and it comes up, they might not look so leniently,” Gossom said.
The rule applies to all, even those who enforce it.
“Our deputies, they will wear masks on certain calls, we’re also notified about certain locations that have potential COVID persons at and so they take all the precautions of that,” Duke said.
A collaborative effort with a fine easy to avoid by protecting yourself and those around you.
Duke said it’s going to be hard to worry about masks 4th of July weekend as the holiday brings dozens of other calls with it.
On that note, he wants to remind if someone accidentally starts a fire, please call it in.