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UPDATED: Jefferson County’s mask order extended to July 7

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick is extending the mandatory mask ordinance through July 7.

Before Tuesday’s announcement, the order was sent to expire at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

“The numbers over the weekend did not look good,” Branick said. “Beaumont had 28 new cases and 33 (Sunday). I am waiting on updated numbers for the county and then I will reassess the numbers on July 7.”

Branick said he is hoping residents will exercise strength and social responsibility during the Fourth of July weekend.

“I am hoping over the holiday there won’t be any mass involvements,” he said. “I worry about people gathering on Galveston County beaches, coming back to Jefferson or Orange County and spreading the virus more. I hope people will exercise some strength and avoid big parties.”

The extended order follows the same guidelines as the June 24 issue.

The order requires all businesses that provide goods and services to require masks for all employees and customers entering the establishment. Businesses that do not comply can face up to a $1,000 fine per violation.

Branick said by assessing the ordinance in seven-day increments it gives him time to look at numbers and assess new positive cases in the county.

“We were supposed to reach our peak in cases in April and we did not,” he said. “I hope we are reaching our peak now and begin the downside, but we’ve been growing our cases and it is not a good trend.”

Branick advises the community to continue exercising good hygiene, wear face coverings, avoid crowds and continue to social distance.