WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - While many counties in Texas are implementing some sort of mask mandate whether it be in restaurants or businesses, Williamson County is choosing not to, despite seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Williamson County reported nearly 90 new cases at the start of the week.
“I’d like to see us flatten that curve and pivot in a positive direction versus just watching it inflate,” said Anna Cummins, who lives in the county and recently started a petition to try and get the county to implement some sort of mask mandate. “Ultimately it would be nice to see some sort of mandate. I’m not looking for a consequential mandate, I don’t really want to hurt the business owners I know that they are already hurting enough the main goal is to keep our local businesses open."
Cummings said the lack of mask-wearing she’s seen while out in the county was concerning and hopes the petition gets some sort of conversation going. “If anything it creates some awareness and shifts a handful of folks to just get a bandana and put it on to respect the staff and employees that are showing up to work every day to make sure we can get on with our lives," she said.
While there is no mask mandate in the county, leaders are still encouraging people to wear them. “To wear a mask really seems like the respectful thing to do when you’re out in public or closer than 6 feet to other individuals,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
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Gravell said right now there are no plans to issue a mask mandate unless the state says otherwise. “Each county is leading in a different direction on this topic but here in Williamson County, we are following the governor’s leadership and the governor hasn’t ordered for restaurants or businesses to wear masks or force everyone that comes in there to wear a mask,” he said.
Gravell said giving a business struggling from the shutdown a fine for not following a mandate seems counterintuitive; instead, he wants to remind businesses of what they can do, like choosing not to serve someone without a mask.
“Businesses have choices here," Gravell said. "If they feel uncomfortable or feel unsafe they have the right to shut down, that’s the first step and the second step and they want to keep their business open, I would see signs that said no shoes no shirt no service and businesses have that right to refuse to serve that patron."
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