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At an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, the Kaufman County judge and commissioners court ordered all county businesses that are open to the public to develop a health and safety policy. The policy must require all customers and employees to stay six feet apart or wear face coverings.

The order is due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Kaufman County and throughout Texas.

Businesses also may use other measures to check for the virus, such as temperature checks and health screenings, the order stated.

County Judge Hal Richards asked the four county commissioners if they think the measures will help slow the spread of the virus, which has now infected 518 county residents, resulting in four deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The order will show the county is trying to do something, said Commissioner Terry Barber, adding that he has received numerous calls on the subject. Other commissioners nodded in agreement.

Fire Marshal Randy Richards asked what a business owner should do if a customer isn’t wearing a mask.

Criminal District Attorney Erleigh Norville Wiley suggested businesses provide masks, or even ask customers to pull up their shirts over their faces.

Wiley said she isn’t planning to pursue prosecutions for people who won’t wear a mask.

“This is not to prosecute people enjoying their freedoms,” she said.

The order requires also requires all county employees and visitors in county buildings to wear a face covering, unless six-foot social distancing can be assured.

Commissioner Ken Cates noted that the U.S. Center for Disease Control states that people who have difficulty breathing, along with children under two, are not required to wear masks under federal guidelines.

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