Houston’s Democratic mayor said a “board of shame” could come for city businesses that violate Harris County’s face mask mandate, KHOU-TV reported.
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Mayor Sylvester Turner at his daily news conference Wednesday said he was considering a board that would identify businesses that are “working against the rules,” the station said.
The county’s mask order went into effect Monday and requires all businesses to enforce the wearing of face masks for staff and customers when indoors, KHOU reported.
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Turner specifically spoke about bars and restaurants, where crowds have flocked to in recent weeks at a time when the Greater Houston area’s novel coronavirus numbers are beginning increase.
Under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening plan, bars are allowed to open at 50 percent normal capacity, while restaurants can welcome up to 75 percent of their normal capacity.
Over the weekend, however, the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission suspended the license of 17 bars in the state, including two in the Houston area, for being over capacity and not enforcing social distancing.
Turner said members with both the Houston police and fire departments will be enforcing bars and restaurants this weekend and tipping off TABC about those businesses that aren’t following the rules.
“I do think it’s important for people to know who’s being a good citizen, and who’s not,” Turner said, according to KHOU, adding that no one will be jailed.
“I do want to put people on notice that as we move closer to the weekend, we are going to actively monitor whether or not people are complying with occupancy requirements, wearing their masks, because we want to really crack down on people who are not adhering to the rules,” he added, the station said.
Turner said customers are interested in businesses that operate in customers’ best interests, KPRC-TV reported.
“The confidence of the customer will determine the viability of the business,” he also said, according to KPRC. “We want people to be good partners and good citizens. If you are not, you need to go on the board of shame.”
Houston reported 987 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and seven more deaths linked to the virus, KHOU noted, adding that there are now over 16,000 coronavirus cases in the city, including 204 deaths, and that more than 3,500 people have recovered.
“Please take this virus seriously,” Turner also said, KHOU reported. “The goal is to, again, flatten this curve and slow the progression to make sure we don’t become the epicenter of this virus in this country.”