‘Our goal is to have our citizens comply’: Edinburg police to assist business owners in enforcing masks at businesses

8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Wednesday, March 10 2021 Mar 10, 2021 March 10, 2021 9:24 AM March 10, 2021 in News - Local

Edinburg city leaders announced Wednesday they will continue to require masks for anyone visiting city facilities or attending city events.

While the city is not forcing private business owners to do the same, some are.

Ricardo Cruz, one of the owners of Build a Burger in Edinburg, says the business wasn't immune to the economic impacts of the virus. They shut down for the entire month of April last year, and since then, they've revamped the way they do business.

Under Gov. Abbott's latest executive order, which started Wednesday, businesses can fully operate at 100 percent and have the option to not require masks inside. But Cruz says they're not ready to take that step just yet.

“Just like the city said earlier, no shoes, no shirt, no service,” Cruz said. “It's going to be also no mask, no service."

Cruz says they're choosing to keep capacity at 75 percent and will require both customers and employees to wear a mask.

"If a person refuses to put on a mask or to leave the premises, at that point they are potentially criminal trespassing onto that premises,” Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa said at a press conference Wednesday.

Watch the entire press conference below.

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Ochoa said the city cannot mandate citizens to use a mask, but they can require people to wear one inside city property. As for private businesses, they can require a mask, and if a person refuses to comply, the business has the right to refuse service and call police, if needed.

"Our goal is not to make an arrest,” said Edinburg police Chief Cesar Torres. “Our goal is to have our citizens comply. We will ask our Edinburg police officers to be carrying masks just in case a citizen needs one."

Torres says a person who refuses to wear a mask and leave the business can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor and face a fine of $2,000 dollars and/or 180 days in jail.

But city officials and business owners want to avoid this.

“For the most part, our customers are being respectful,” Cruz said. “We might have some, and if we do, then we try to provide the best customer service possible and be very respectful of their way of thinking but we are going to enforce the mask."

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