QUESTION: How is Longview enforcing the governor’s mask requirement?
ANSWER: Hopefully you saw part of this answer in Thursday’s column, about the environmental health office enforcing this requirement as it pertains to restaurant workers.
I asked the police department, though, what this looks like on their end. First, spokesman Brandon Thornton told me the police department hasn’t been commonly receiving calls about people who aren’t wearing masks in public.
When the police department does receive these types of calls, dispatchers are informing callers that the department “will not be responding to general complaints about individuals not wearing face coverings,” Thornton said.
However, the reporting party will be transferred to a patrol supervisor if there are additional questions or concerns.
“If this is at a business and the ‘non-mask wearer’ is refusing to leave,” the call would be considered a criminal trespass and two units would be dispatched, Thornton said. “This is in line with the governor’s order GA-29 that states: But no law enforcement or other official may detain, arrest, or confine in jail any person for a violation of this executive order or for related non-violent, non-felony offenses that are predicated on a violation of this executive order; provided, however, that any official with authority to enforce this executive order may act to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner.”
Thornton said the police department’s focus is on education and voluntary compliance when it comes to masks.
“We acknowledge there are many opinions about the use of face coverings, but this is a mandate from our governor. We ask that everyone comply with the governor’s request for the protection of our community in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID,” he said. “If a Longview police officer encounters an individual that refuses to voluntarily comply, verbal warnings and or written warnings could follow. Also, any business has the right to refuse someone not wearing a face covering. We as a department will focus our efforts on criminal activity, and we ask that our community take personal responsibility to meet the masking requirements.”
Q: Will our Longview Corner Bakery be opening back up anytime soon?
A: It is gone for good.
Longview’s Corner Bakery was owned by the same people who own Tyler’s Corner Bakery, which is still in business, and Traditions Restaurant in Tyler. A company representative told me this week that our Corner Bakery fell victim to the pandemic and won’t be reopening.