The city council of Laredo, Texas — in south Texas on the Rio Grande border with Mexico — earlier this week passed a motion allowing authorities to fine residents up to $1,000 for not wearing some form of facial protective covering over the nose and mouth.
The ordinance applies to all residents over the age of five when entering any public building, supermarket, or when doing things like pumping gas. It went into effect on Thursday.
"This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes," the notice indicates.
The council also controversially imposed a blanket curfew on all Laredo residents. All 'non-essential' persons are forbidden from leaving their house between 10pm and 5am, punishable by a fine, also an arrestable offense; however, exercising alone is still allowed.
The draconian measures were taken as the relatively small city of 230,000 saw a sudden rapid rise in the number of cases, currently at 65 confirmed COVID-19 positives, including five deaths, according to city data.