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No Mask Mandates on Comal County Businesses

The views, information or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individuals involved and do not represent those of the BSB Chamber of Commerce and its employees. BSBCOC is not responsible, and does not verify for accuracy of the information contained in the following press release.

September 4, 2020

Re: No Mask Mandates on Comal County Businesses

        As local attorneys, business owners, and members of the Chamber of Commerce, we are honored to have been asked to provide our legal opinion concerning whether or not local business owners have any legal obligation to enforce Covid-19 precautions (e.g., masks) on their customers or employees. The short answer is “No.”

        The only governmental directive in effect in Comal County as of September 4, 2020, is the Texas Governor’s Executive Order GA-29 (GA-29-use-of-face-coverings-during-COVID-19). GA-29 states: “Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering … wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing….” This determination about the feasibility of social distancing is the responsibility of individual “persons.” Thus, GA-29 requires individual citizens of Texas to be self-governed concerning the wearing of masks.

        GA-29 does not address businesses in any way. It does not require any business to take any action regarding face covering for anyone. Some previous Governor’s Orders contained mandates to businesses. Those Orders have expired and are no longer in effect.

        Comal County and the City of New Braunfels had local Orders with mandates on businesses concerning face masks. Those Orders have expired and are no longer in effect. The City of Bulverde and the City of Garden Ridge never issued an Order with such mandates on businesses.

        Businesses are free, but not required, to impose their own rules concerning personal protective equipment. The Texas Dept. of State Health Services has published protocols concerning face masks and other matters relevant to Covid-19.  These protocols provide recommendations which may be consulted by a business in choosing whether or not it wants to impose rules on its customers or employees. We checked with DSHS to confirm that it does not enforce these health protocols as mandates on businesses. 

        Thus, there is no current directive from any authority requiring any business in Comal County, Texas to take any action regarding face coverings, and businesses face no threat of fine or penalty for failure to do so.

Respectfully,

J. Christopher Byrd

State Bar No. 03547980
P.O. Box 359
2631 Bulverde Rd., Suite 105
Bulverde, Texas 78163
Telephone (830) 249-3559

Ray B.Jeffrey

State Bar No. 10613700
2631 Bulverde Rd., Suite 105
Bulverde, Texas 78163 
Telephone (830) 438-8935