Abilene: Masks Not Required Only Recommended
ABILENE, TX – The mask debate was settled in Abilene after Mayor Anthony Williams announced the City of Abilene will not mandate masks but does recommend people wear one in public.
According to KTXS, Williams stated that under the current executive order made by Gov Abbott — GA-28 — municipalities and counties cannot mandate masks.
"Even if we could mandate (them), I would argue its not best for this community," said Williams. "If we have compliance, we believe hospitalizations can be reduced by 80-percent.”
The President and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Doug Peters applauded the city and county for mandating something he calls “impossible to enforce.”
According to the Abilene Health Director Annette Lerma, the positivity rate increased from 1% on June 8 to 12% last week. Hospitalizations have also doubled over the past week.
According to Lerma, the recent surge is due to a combination of factors. She has attributed the uptick to business re-opening, travel, bars, and gatherings like birthday parties and graduations.
"Now is the time to get aggressive and get ahead of the curve," said Lerma.
Williams clarified that gatherings that exceed 100 people must be approved by the mayor. He also announced the Abilene Freedom Festival will go on as scheduled.
Attendees will have their temperature checked at the gate and hand sanitizers will be available throughout the event.
Organizers are recommending people wear masks and have contracted a vendor that will sanitize surfaces every hour.
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