• Laredo City Council in Texas passed an ordinance that requires wearing of face masks in public
  • Violators may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine
  • Some residents said they won't be able to pay the fine in this pandemic

A city in Texas requires its residents to wear face masks if they need to be outside. Otherwise, they could be fined for $1,000 if they don't have some kind of covering on their faces.

Laredo, Texas officials, issued the face mask ordinance early this week to stop the spread of coronavirus. The emergency order mandates all residents, including children above 5 years old, to cover their mouths and noses if they are going out for essential errands.

The Laredo City Council in Texas is making face masks mandatory for residents who need to out in public amid the coronavirus restrictions. coyot/Pixabay

If they don't have a face mask, residents may use a scarf, bandana, handkerchief, or any type of cloth as covering. The order will be in place until April 30, and anyone in violation will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which has a fine of not more than $1,000.

"This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes,” the ordinance underscored.

Laredo residents must also observe a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless they have to be out to buy necessities like food or medicine. Those who are at work may be exempt from the curfew if they have a letter from their employers or a work ID.

Council officials said that the police might enforce the ordinance at their discretion, but some have voiced concerns over the fines.

“I’d rather bury them in debt than bury them in a coffin,” George Altgelt, a member of the Laredo City Council, said.

The latest data shows that Laredo has 83 positive coronavirus cases and five deaths.

The ordinance comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus task force advisor, said they are reviewing guidelines for wearing masks in public with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott expanded the state's social distancing guidelines on Tuesday, which limits non-essential and in-person activities.