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Jul 02

July 2, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #77.5

Posted on July 2, 2020 at 4:42 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Did the governor take any virus-related action relating to face masks heading into the Fourth of July weekend?


Yes. He issued Executive Order GA-29, a face covering order, which becomes effective at 12:01 p.m. on July 3 and provides that:


“Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this face-covering requirement does not apply [in 11 enumerated circumstances listed in the order].”


Certain counties are exempted from the requirement, and the order provides that TDEM will keep a list of those counties on its website at


According to the order:


“Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.


Local law enforcement and other local officials, as appropriate, can and should enforce this executive order, Executive Order GA-28, and other effective executive orders, as well as local restrictions that are consistent with this executive order and other effective executive orders.


But no law enforcement or other official may detain, arrest, or confine in jail any person for a violation of this executive order or for related non-violent, non-felony offenses that are predicated on a violation of this executive order; provided, however, that any official with authority to enforce this executive order may act to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner. This executive order hereby prohibits confinement in jail as a penalty for the violation of any face-covering order by any jurisdiction.”


Did the governor take any virus-related action relating to large gatherings heading into the Fourth of July weekend?


Yes. He issued a proclamation amending Executive Order GA-28 granting mayors additional authority over smaller gatherings. The proclamation becomes effective at 12:01 p.m. on July 3 and continues the social distancing requirement:


“Except as provided in this executive order or in the minimum standard health protocols recommended by DSHS, found at, people shall not be in groups larger than 10 and shall maintain six feet of social distancing from those not in their group.”


And it lowers the mayoral approval threshold for outdoor gatherings from those in excess of 100 to those in excess of 10:


“For any outdoor gathering in excess of 10 people, other than those set forth above in paragraph numbers 1, 2, or 4, the gathering is prohibited unless the mayor of the city in which the gathering is held, or the county judge in the case of a gathering in an unincorporated area, approves of the gathering, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or restrictions not inconsistent with this executive order.”


The exemptions in GA-28’s paragraph numbers 1, 2, or 4 are many. Pursuant to GA-28 #1, a county judge or mayor has no express authority over the following outdoor gatherings:


1. any services listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 3.1 or any subsequent version;

2. religious services, including those conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship;

3. child-care services;

4. youth camps, including but not limited to those defined as such under Chapter 141 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and including all summer camps and other daytime and overnight camps for youths; and

5. recreational sports programs for youths and adults.


In other words, the above events can take place by right with no occupancy limits. 


Pursuant to GA-28 #4, amusement parks are subject to a 50 percent occupancy limit.


Pursuant to GA-28 #2 and #5 regarding outdoor gatherings, the order remains confusing. After much internal debate, the bottom line as interpreted by League attorneys is this:


1. Any outdoor gathering in the city limits in excess of 10 people is prohibited by the order (GA-28 #5), unless a mayor allows it. 

2. A mayor may allow a gathering in excess of 10 people in the city limits, and may impose allowable conditions on the gathering (including a now-enforceable mask requirement)(GA-28 #5). The best way to do that would probably be a written proclamation. 

3. The order’s 50 percent occupancy limit does not apply to outdoor events, except those expressly listed in number 4 below (GA-18 #2).

4. A mayor has no control over the following, which can operate at a maximum of 50 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the owner: (a) professional, collegiate, or similar sporting events; (b) swimming pools; (c) water parks; (d) museums and libraries; (e) zoos, aquariums, natural caverns, and similar facilities; and (f) rodeos and equestrian events (GA-28 #2).


Further Updates


Will there be an update tomorrow?


Probably not, unless any further major announcements are made.


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.