Nueces County Issues Face Covering Order Amid Political Waffling

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales has officially signed an order requiring face coverings.

The order is set to go into effect on Friday, June 26. However, the order has not officially been filed.

The order, as it is written says that so-identified “commercial entities” including the Texas State Aquarium, grocery stores, pharmacies, big box stores (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and others that can be reasonable characterized as “big box” stores), and shopping malls in Nueces County (inclusive of all retail stores inside of shopping malls).

“The Health and Safety Practices for all Listed Commercial Entities mustrequire that all employees and visitors inside a Listed Commercial Entities’ business premises wear face coverings when in a space that will necessarily involve close contact (areas where six (6) feet of separation is not feasible) with others – excepting family members,” the order says.

Legal experts say that the order could very likely be challenged in court due to article 5 of the signed order, should it be filed.

The order makes the facial coverings a requirement for some businesses, but only a recommendation for some. While there has not been a direct legal opinion on such an order, some would argue that it open the door to challenge the order, which as it is written creates, one rule of order for one group of people or businesses, while excluding others from the rule.

However, Judge Canales was forced to do something.

Canales was caught waffling on the order last week when she made it clear that she would likely have an order on Friday. Come Friday, Canales said that the order could be given over the weekend or early this week. On Monday, she began hem-hawing that there would be a special meeting to allow for public comment. Judge Canales found herself in a political jam. An order of some type was going to have to be issued—one way or the other.

But she was not the only who had worked her way into a jam. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who held a press conference on Monday did nothing to enforce his previous statement that if the data showed a major increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations or positives, he would consider scaling back his re-opening of the state, Abbott waffled, too.

On Monday, Nueces County recorded another 109 cases of COVID-19 in our community. About half of the community seems to be in favor of face coverings and the other half against.

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