LAREDO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, one Texas city is now requiring its residents to cover their nose and mouth when going out in public or else face a fine of up to $1,000.
Starting on Thursday, all people over the age of 5 in Laredo will have to wear some kind of covering, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandanna or handkerchief when entering a building open to the public. Residents will also have to cover their mouth and nose when using public transportation, taxis, ride shares or when pumping gas.
The new rule doesn’t apply to people riding in their own vehicles or if they are outside for exercise and following social distancing guidelines.
The mandate for wearing the covering was issued on Tuesday by Laredo’s city council. The South Texas city of more than 261,000 residents along the U.S.-Mexico border is about 155 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Residents are being encouraged to use homemade masks and leave medical masks, including N95 masks, for health professionals, said Dr. Hector Gonzalez, director of Laredo’s health department.
Others around the country have also been updating their guidance on whether or not to wear some sort of facial covering.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott urged all Texans to stay at their homes. in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases continues to rapidly increase. Residents are able to leave their homes for essential service and activities
Schools in Texas are also ordered to remain closed until at least May 4.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti told his residents on Wednesday to start wearing homemade masks if performing essential tasks like food shopping. But Los Angeles residents weren’t expected to face fines if they didn’t do so.
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as some other countries, people have to wear a face mask in all public places.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)