As the state continues to slowly reopen, one of the biggest questions on people’s minds is how to remain safe visiting local restaurants, stores, and other businesses while things return to some sense of normalcy. State and local officials continue to remind individuals to practice safe social distancing if they choose to go out, and if at all possible, to wear a mask when out in public. The latter, however, has proven to be a controversial subject.
Here in Houston and all across the entire country, the debate rages on as to whether citizens should be required to wear a mask, with many divided across political lines on the issue.
At one point, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order that would require residents to wear masks when out in public or face a fine of up to $1,000 for failure to do so. However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott later issued his own order saying Harris County could not impose fines for not wearing a face mask.
For his part, Governor Abbott has encouraged Texans to wear masks when in public. “I, and everybody else with me, encourage all Texans to continue keeping that social distance and to wear face masks if at all possible,” Abbott said.
Now, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has spoken on the issue, expressing concerns that the issue of wearing a mask has become too politicized.
“It should not be political,” the mayor said. “The virus will not skip over you if you’re a Republican or go around you if you are a Democrat.”
Mayor Turner noted that while he would have approached the pace of reopening the economy differently than Governor Abbott, he does “want people to get back to work to provide for families, but want[s] to make sure it is done in a safe responsible way.”
The Mayor also thanked Houstonians for taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus over the last several weeks.
“Since March, Houston has taken steps and made sacrifices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I want to thank all Houstonians who have helped us to achieve that. I don’t want to say success, but to help flatten the progression of this virus, we have achieved that object,” Mayor Turner said.