The Terrell City Council on Tuesday night passed a revised ordinance that urges citizens to wear face coverings when out at local businesses and other places where people gather.

The ordinance stops short of directing people to wear face coverings, which has happened in some Texas cities. However, the same ordinance orders Terrell citizens to follow any and all public health protocols in place at any Terrell business or organization. For instance, if a business posts a sign that facemasks must be worn inside, people would have to wear one or face a $2,000 fine.

City Manager Mike Sims said the city is urging citizens to make a “diligent personal effort” to practice good hygiene and follow all Centers for Disease Control guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19. He sees wearing a facemask in public as part of that “diligent personal effort.”

“If you’re in a store for 15 minutes, that’s not too long to wear a facemask,” Sims said.

Containing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 is the key to kick-starting an economic recovery in Terrell, according to Sims.

And when restrictions are lifted, it is essential for people to continue exercising diligence in adhering to CDC best practices in preventing COVID-19 transmission. “Otherwise we won’t come out of the economic downturn effectively,” Sims said.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Dusty Conner said that so far in Texas, 2.6% of COVID-19 cases have resulted in death, and that the state is now tracking recoveries. Essentially, if you are alive 14 days after testing positive for COVID-19, the state counts you as recovered. According to this form of tracking, an estimated 6,486 Texans are counted as recovered.

As for facemasks, Conner stressed that wearing a facemask isn’t for your protection. The facemask is meant to protect others from you in case you are COVID-19 positive and don’t know it. Likely, many people are walking around in Kaufman County who have no idea they are COVID-19 positive, according to Conner.

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