The Temple City Council was set to consider a mask mandate during its meeting tonight, but the plan was scrapped when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order for counties with more than 20 COVID-19 cases.
“The City of Temple has intentionally followed the lead of Bell County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Tim Davis said in a statement. “This was done to have consistent requirements as residents move across the county as they work, shop, and dine. As the mayor of Temple, I no longer believe that is the best strategy.”
The Council meets at 5 p.m. at the Temple Municipal Building, 2 N. Main St. Residents can also participate online by visiting https://www.templetx.gov/2967/Virtual-Meetings.
Abbott’s order requires Texans living in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while inside a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible, The Texas Tribune reported.
But it provides several exceptions, including children who are younger than 10 years old, people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, people who are eating or drinking and people who are exercising outdoors, according to the Tribune.
Since Monday, Bell County has gained 252 COVID-19 infections. Temple alone has 430 coronavirus cases, according to the Bell County Public Health District.
At least 1,288 cases have been reported in the county, according to the health district.
“As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the region, I believe that the … Temple City Council should make the wearing of masks mandatory when social distancing is not possible,” Davis said. “This decision is not an easy one. I realize that not every citizen in Temple has the same opinion regarding wearing masks.”
After the Bell County Commissioners Court flip flopped the county’s position on a mask requirement, Davis said Temple would also strongly encourage mask wearing.
On Wednesday, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra announced the county’s largest city would mandate businesses to require masks for all patrons. That order went into effect early Thursday.
Temple Councilwoman Susan Long told the Telegram Wednesday she supports a mask requirement.