Hidalgo issues new mask order

Greg Abbott said we could, so there.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order Friday mandating that businesses require customers to wear masks, her latest effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

She and other county leaders increasingly are worried about a surge in COVID-19 cases since Memorial Day, which has resulted in eight straight days of record hospitalizations in Harris County. Hidalgo framed the mask rules as a common-sense complement to social distancing that empowers business to protect patrons.

“The idea is to see this as no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,” Hidalgo said at a news conference. “It gives people an understanding of what to expect when they go into an establishment.”

Her order hews closely to face-covering rules issued by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff earlier this week and will go into effect Monday. It expires June 30, though Hidalgo hinted she likely would seek an extension.

It requires all customers 10 and older to wear a face covering inside a businesses; employees who work at a business where distancing from others is impossible also are required to wear a mask. Exceptions include eating at a restaurant, pumping gas, visiting a bank or anytime wearing a mask poses a health risk.


Mayor Sylvester Turner was one of nine executives of Texas cities to sign a letter to Abbott on Tuesday urging the governor to order residents to wear masks or let local leaders do so themselves. Turner said he would direct police to hand out masks instead of tickets, as they had done in April.

Turner praised Hidalgo’s order and noted the troubling rise in cases, including a new batch of 972 infections in Houston alone he announced from the lectern. Most of those were the results of tests conducted June 5 to June 10, he said.

“Toward the end of April and the first couple weeks of May, we flattened the curve and the numbers were headed in the right direction,” Turner said. “Now, the numbers are starting to tick up, and so we’re encouraging people, at the very minimum, to mask up.”

Greater Houston Partnership CEO Bob Harvey joined the leaders to announce that the business community supported the mask rules.

See here and here for the background. Mayor Turner has fully endorsed Judge Hidalgo’s order. Dallas County has done the same. And just to put a little bit of pressure back on Abbott, the Texas Restaurant Association has called for a statewide mask order. I don’t see that happening, as we are all too busy being call on to clap harder, but we’ll see how it goes.

By the way, remember the model that suggested the new case count for COVID-19 could climb from about 200 a day, which it was a month ago, to over 2,000 a day? The good news is that we’re still nowhere close to that. Looking at the Harris County Public Health data, we’re at roughly double where we were in mid-May, which isn’t great but is far from an order of magnitude increase. There is some lag built into these numbers, though, so we’ll need to check back in another two weeks, and then again after that to see if the mask order, which goes into effect on Monday, made a difference. We know it can’t hurt. Stay safe and wear your mask, people.

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20 Responses to Hidalgo issues new mask order

  1. I have bought several boxes of masks and I will be handing them out to all customers that come into my office.

  2. Jules says:

    Good job Paul

  3. Brad says:

    Paul, thanks for looking after our community

  4. Flypusher says:

    I copied this particular quote off the internet (attributed to one R. K. Entrain) several years back because I though it contained a very important warning. It was about Operation Jade Helm, but it’s very easy to see how it applies to the mask debate:

    “The supposed Jade Helm 15 conspiracy may be the single stupidest thing to come out of Texas in 20 years, and for a state that has reliably given us such treasures as Louie Gohmert, Steve Stockman, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and George W. Bush himself that Is saying something. It may not even be possible to adequately convey how stupid this story is. There may not be words in the English language- there may in fact be no words in any language, simply because no civilization has yet existed that ever needed to convey a stupidity as deep or as empty-headed as would apply here. It is a stupidity so stupid that we may be able to use it as future measure of the viability of nation-states; if a majority of any definable population is stupid enough to believe this thing, it is evidence that that population has lost the intellectual ability to maintain a government.”

    Fellow citizens, we are looking at that critical mass of stupidity. Wearing a mask in public is about the very least thing you could do in the cause of battling the pandemic, but the way some of these wingnuts bitch and moan, an outside observer could be forgiven if their first thought was that these people were being compelled to give up their firstborn and cut off their right arms. The fact that we can’t keep stupid tribal politics out of a public health matter makes me wonder about the viability of our society. The virus does not care who you voted for.

    Also good for you Paul.

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    Fly, the question that I have is if you are going to open restaurant dining rooms and bar rooms, you are going to have to take off your mask, so what good does it do to wear it inside for 5 minutes, then take it off to have lunch for an hour?

    In 1918 the masks didn’t do so much, but in San Francisco an officer shot a guy who refused to put on a mask. Hope that doesn’t happen here.

  6. Flypusher says:

    There’s a reason I’m sticking to takeout. I do not expect that I’ll dine in for the rest of this year, at a minimum.

    It would have been better to provide rent relief to make up for the revenue difference between full capacity dine in and takeout.

  7. Flypusher says:

    Another point- there are plenty of non-restaurant businesses, and the anti-mask crowd is also whining about mask requirements for those. You don’t need to take off the mask to shop at Costco.

  8. mollusk says:

    Wearing a mask during an epidemic is a simple, small courtesy that takes little effort. The best thing that can be said about those who loudly refuse to do it is that it makes it easier to figure out who’s a jackass.

    I’ll also pile on to thanking Paul K for his good sense on this issue.

  9. Robbie B Westmoreland says:

    These are the people who mobilize their small towns because some numbnut said a busload of Antifa is coming to burn their Walmart. Logic, empathy, and self-awareness are really big asks from this crowd. Of course they think that having to wear a mask is Communism. They think the McDonalds messing up their order is Communism.

  10. Bill Daniels says:


    The people who mobilize their small towns because leftist agitators are on the way….still have businesses to shop at. Compare and contrast to cities that did not address the leftist threat.

    Those committing mob violence know they will be protected by DA’s like Kim Ogg, and that any attempt to stop them from committing assaults, arson, looting, and murder, will be met with criminal charges against the police or any citizen brave enough to try and stop them from committing their crimes.

    I guess Soros failed to buy the D.A. position in Bethel, Ohio. Oops. Strategic mistake, and a mistake that allowed Bethel’s businesses to remain intact.

  11. Ross says:

    Once again, Bill, you are full of shit. The protesters Ogg declined to charge and prosecute shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. Of course, you seem to have this masturbatory fantasy of watching police kill people, acting as judge, jury, and executioner. I’m guessing you’ve never been poor, never had to worry about where your next meal was coming from,. and damn sure didn’t have to worry about being proned out on the ground by police, simply because you were a person of color wearing a certain shade shirt. Or, have a cop ask where you “picked up the whore”, as happened to a colleague who is black and married to a Filipina, after being pulled over for no reason at all while driving to town to see a play downtown.

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  14. Manny says:

    Ross you are probably correct, but Bill is your typical Trump loving Republican.

    Bill Daniels stated the following;

    “give orders for the soldiers to shoot to kill any person entering the kill zone from the Mexican side, period. Women? Children? Old people? Military age males? Waste anyone that crosses from Mexico into the US. Back that up with predator drones . and perhaps an A-10 every 3 or 4 hundred miles, for close air support for larger groups, and you’ve secured the border, with no fences.”


  15. Bill Daniels says:

    Thanks, Manny. That’s a fantastic way to stop the drug cartels, human traffickers, and stop the rapes that happen to 8 out of 10 women who try to illegally cross the border. What kind of people mass rape women trying to illegally enter the US? People we don’t want IN the US. But hey, aren’t you glad Trump has found ANOTHER way to stop criminals from getting in?

    Today’s the commemoration day for 200 miles of new wall (even though there’s more than that actually built).


    I wonder if Nancy “not one penny” Pelosi will attend the celebration of the defense of America?

    More winning: Trump just stopped ALL H-1B visas for the rest of the year. American jobs for Americans! Surely we can both agree this is a good think, right Manny? Do you believe that with mass unemployment of Americans at the moment, the jobs that are here should be filled by American citizens first?

  16. brad says:


    Not enjoyable watching live TV coverage of Darwin’s natural selection taking the lives of your Trump + Pence + Kudlow + Navarro loving friends who believe their lies about the pandemic.

  17. Manny says:

    Still waiting for Americans to go and pick the crops.

    How much has Mexico paid for the wall? About 30 million per mile is the cost paid for by Americans for something that a reciprocating saw can cut through in minutes.

    The wall is just to appease the racists in the Republican Party.

    Over 120,000 dead and hundreds of thousands more having to be hospitalized because of Trump and stupid racist people like you.

    Worse economy in my life time and I am a lot closer to 100 than I am to a new born.

    Bill your god will call it quits, he is does not want to go down as the president that left with the worse defeat in history.

    How much do they pay you Bill, you come in with the same bs that the right wing crazies come up to explain their hate and stupidity.


  18. Manny says:

    I was not going to bite on;

    “stop the rapes that happen to 8 out of 10 women who try to illegally cross the border. ”

    But I changed my mind, since you have so much concern and compassion for those women Bill, send a letter to your god, Trump, and ask that he send airplanes to the countries where the women are coming from, that will prevent all those rapes.

    The second topic you brought up, that I will bite on is;

    “What kind of people mass rape women trying to illegally enter the US?”

    Some of the most common comments that I have read in various articles from people like you about undocumented women are as follow. This was in reference to a 15 year old girl, you people (People like you Bill) wrote “They are here illegally they are open season to any American who can do with them as they want.”

    What kind of people are your kind Bill? Why can’t we can’t get rid of such despicable like you?

    Trump was accused of raping a 13 year American girl.


  19. Jules says:

    Why you guys keep engaging with a numbnuts who thinks it’s a super duper clever idea to murder women and children so they won’t get raped is beyond me.

  20. C.L. says:

    Thank you, Jules. Past time to stop reacting/responding to his posts.

    Most are too easily triggered and fall for the bait

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