La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody today issued an executive order requiring that all customers and employees wear face coverings in retail buildings to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Our community has seen comparatively low numbers throughout this pandemic, but it is far from over,” Dermody said. “Our numbers are beginning to run as the anticipated second wave approaches, and we want to be prepared. The last thing we need is for the economy to shut down again, so we are being proactive in hopes that this measure will help prevent the spread of the virus and minimize the impact of the second peak in La Porte.”

Under the executive order, customers and employees will be required to wear a mask or face covering in enclosed businesses unless they have a medical exemption. In spaces where a face covering would prevent the delivery of goods or services, such as a restaurant, face coverings will not be required as long as social distancing of at least six feet is maintained. In addition, retailers will also be required to provide hand sanitizer at entrances and near high-touch surfaces.

Dermody said Director of Code Enforcement Jeff Batchelor is prepared to enforce this order.

“Our numbers are rising throughout the country and this is not something we are going to take lightly,” Batchelor said. “My team and I will be going around the city to ensure this executive order is being followed. We don’t want to ticket people, but we will if that’s what it takes to keep our community safe.”

The executive order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 12, and will run through Friday, August 7.