Gregg County will enforce fines only as “a very last resort”, will insist on verbal warnings and voluntary compliance


LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office announced on Facebook Friday afternoon that they will only enforce Gov. Abbott’s face mask order with fines as “a very last resort.”

If Gregg Country Sheriff’s Office Deputies encounter an individual that refuses to voluntarily comply, verbal warnings and or written warnings will follow. As a very last resort a citation can be written at the discretion of the deputy.

Gregg County Sheriff’s Office

The second-largest county in population for East Texas is the first to come out and say that giving fines in their jurisdiction would even be a possibility.

Smith and Nacogdoches Counties already announced that they would not hand out fines and instead rely on voluntary compliance.

Many other counties have said they will file for an exemption due to having lower than 20 active cases in their areas.

To view a complete list of East Texas counties’ current position, click here.

Here are the exceptions to Gov. Abbott’s order:

  • Any person younger than 10 years of age; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
  • Any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household
  • Any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  • Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face-covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal
  • Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body
    of water
  • Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or
    actively administering an election, but wearing a face-covering is strongly
  • Any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious
    worship, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged;
  • Any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an
  • Any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face-covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.

Not excempted from this face-covering requirement is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household.

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