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UPDATE: Jefferson County to require facemasks for residents

Details of Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick’s order for residents to wear masks following a local spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 were released at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The order takes effect at noon Wednesday.

All commercial entities in Jefferson County providing goods or services directly to the public must develop and implement a policy requiring visitors and staff to wear face coverings when performing activities in proximity to each other.

Failure to implement the policy may result in fine not to exceed $1,000 per individual violation.

Businesses are given five days to implement the policy.

On Tuesday, the City of Port Arthur Health Department received confirmation of ten additional Port Arthur residents who tested positive for coronavirus disease

All people in the general public age 10 and up shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity that involves staying in close proximity to others.

Acceptable coverings are homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or handkerchiefs.

It is strongly recommended people not obtain medical masks or IN-95 respirators so they can be reserved for health care providers and first responders

You do not need to wear a mask when exercising outside or in physical activity outside, driving alone or with passengers from the same household, pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment, in the midst of surveillance screening or consuming food or drink at restaurants.

Also on Tuesday, the Port Arthur and Jefferson County Health Departments received confirmation of one additional positive COVID-19 case in a resident of Groves and three additional Nederland residents who tested positive for Coronavirus Disease.Branick said he was prompted to issue the mandate after listening to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Monday press conference, adding the last thing he wants to see is Texas shut down again.

Branick said he spoke to the Texas Medical Association, various physicians and nurses groups, the county’s health authority and looked at the number of hospitalizations and bed capacity before deciding to issue the mask order.

“This is what we need to do for a short period of time to stop the spikes we have seen,” Branick said.