PHOTO: A sign at the Victoria Public Library reminds visitors to wear facial coverings.
The City of Victoria will continue to require visitors and employees to wear facial coverings at City-operated facilities after the statewide mask mandate is lifted Wednesday.
Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed Executive Order GA-34, which stated that the statewide order to wear facial coverings would be lifted March 10, although “individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings.” In addition, the order encourages Texans to “use good-faith efforts” to follow health recommendations from the Texas State Department of State Health Services, which include the wearing of facial coverings. The City of Victoria recognizes that it has an obligation to protect the health of employees and members of the public; as such, the City will continue to require facial coverings at its facilities.
This facial covering requirement only applies to City-owned facilities, not the city as a whole. The City is prohibited from establishing a local facial covering ordinance since GA-34 states that “no jurisdiction may impose a penalty of any kind for failure to wear a face covering.” However, individual businesses and facilities still have the ability to establish policies at their own discretion. Abbott’s orders also indicate it is no longer required for local officials to approve outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
Disposable masks will continue to be provided at 700 Main Center, the Victoria Public Library, City Hall and the Victoria Municipal Court to visitors who are not already wearing facial coverings. Visitors who refuse to wear facial coverings may be asked to leave.
The City has received many inquiries about GA-34 and its impact on any local orders that are in place. Residents are reminded that the City of Victoria has not had a local face mask policy in place since July 3, when Abbott’s statewide facial covering mandate went into effect. The new policy, which only applies to City-owned facilities, is a continuation of the rules that were in place at municipal buildings under the statewide order that expires Wednesday.
The City of Victoria encourages residents to continue following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These include washing hands frequently, avoiding large gatherings and wearing facial coverings when maintaining physical distance is not possible. The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being distributed by the Victoria County Public Health Department, and residents who are eligible to receive it are strongly encouraged to sign up for the health department’s new vaccine waiting list by calling 888-966-5640 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday or visiting www.victoriawaitlist.com.
For more information about Executive Order GA-34, visit gov.texas.gov. For local information about COVID-19, visit www.victoriatxoem.org.