A Texas border town is ordering anyone in buildings outside of their homes to wear a mask or some type of face covering — or face a fine of up to $1,000, according to reports.
The new rule applies to buildings, public transportation facilities and gas stations in Laredo, and is set to take effect Thursday and run through April 30, the Laredo Morning Times reports. It was passed just hours after President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that people could “wear a scarf” to contain the spread of coronavirus.
To be in compliance, residents must wear a mask, bandana, scarf or some type of fabric that covers their noses and mouths, the paper reported.
Officials defended the hefty fine after the Tuesday vote, saying it was a small price to pay.
“I’d rather bury them in debt than bury them in a coffin,” Councilman George Altgelt said.
The city must take the added precaution since Mexico is not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, Altgelt claimed during the meeting.
Some council members, meanwhile, participated in the meeting by logging on from home, but everyone who attended the meeting wore a protective mask, KGNS reports.
The city’s stay-at-home order has also been extended 30 days and a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew initially established for minors has been expanded to include all residents. Violators of the curfew could face arrest and a fine up to $1,000, the station reports.
Two people in Laredo have died from COVID-19 – a woman in her late 60s and a 70-year-old woman, both of whom had underlying health conditions, according to KGNS.