CDC guidelines to Prevent Getting Sick say, “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, wear a face covering.” If social distancing can be consistently maintained, by you and everyone around you, there is no requirement for a face covering. However, the three scenarios of my order are instances when social distancing is not likely to be consistently maintained because when in the presence of others you don’t have control of their actions. The requirement for a face covering in those cases is for your safety and theirs. Face coverings are appropriate where social distancing cannot be achieved or consistently maintained. That means that a face covering is not necessary when social distancing (6 feet) can be consistently maintained. If it can’t be, then the face coverings provides a layer of protection for both the wearer and anyone who might come too close. A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. Everyone should keep that distance when it is possible. When it is not, wear a face covering. If you can’t be sure that social distancing can be maintained, then have a face cover on to be protected. Our best strategy is to Stay at Home, just as the Governor’s Order says. However, many of us have to work in Essential Services and all of us need to get food or exercise during this crisis. We need to take a walk, or work in the yard or field.
Dr. Desmar Walkes said last week, “presume everyone you see has the virus.” They may not, but it takes just one. Said simply, this order requires a face covering in public when social distancing cannot be constantly maintained. I hope you will take this to heart, and help us get through this. I want our beloved citizens to know that this order is for their good, for everyone’s good. These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures. Let’s knock this virus down now, so we can get back to the things we love and the freedoms we cherish. Have a safe and blessed Good Friday and Easter weekend. Let’s all treasure relationships and appreciate the good things in life. Thanks, Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape