WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - The number of available hospital beds in Williamson County continues to decrease as the area sees more new COVID-19 cases, so multiple cities passed a mask ordinance in an effort to flatten the curve.
Georgetown, Hutto, Taylor, Cedar Park, and Round Rock have all passed a similar mask ordinance.
Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said doing this will not only help people but also help the already hard-hit small businesses stay open. “We’re doing what we think is right for Round Rock, we have always been a leader in doing what’s right,” he said.
On Monday Round Rock’s city council unanimously passed a face-covering ordinance. “I was hoping we would never have to get to this point. It’s nothing that any of us have taken lightly but the data and the evidence shows the hospitalization rate is on the rise in Williamson County and in Round Rock,” said Morgan.
At the beginning of the week in Williamson County, 35% of their hospital beds were available for new patients. That number dropped to only 17% of their ICU beds being available at this time.
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Round Rock had the most COVID-19 cases out of all the Williamson County cities. “Up to this point we tried to deal with it through education and many of the things that we have done the actions we have taken have helped,” said Morgan.
Morgan stated before the vote that more needs to be done not just for the safety of the people but for the already hurt small businesses. “This time if small businesses close they won’t open back up a number of them,” he said.
The mask ordinance is for people older than 10 and applies the inside of businesses or other buildings open to the public and outside in groups where it’s difficult to keep six feet apart. “This is important to all of us and to the people who don’t want to wear the mask I get it it’s uncomfortable. This whole council believes in choice but to keep our economy open and keep jobs, there are still people who have to go to work. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job where they can stay at home,” said Morgan.
Failure to follow the ordinance will lead to a warning for the first time followed by fines for multiple violations with the maximum being $1000. There are a couple of exceptions to the ordinance which include exercising, eating, and drinking.
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