Residents who enter the Gregg County Courthouse will continue to be required to wear a face mask, while those who enter Longview City Hall will be encouraged — but not required — to do the same.
Gregg County and the city of Longview each provided information Tuesday on their face mask policies going forward.
A statewide mask mandate ends today, and businesses and facilities also will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity. Gov. Greg Abbott’s March 2 announcement came as medical advancements, including vaccines and therapeutic drugs, have helped reduce the statewide risk of COVID-19. Abbott’s order continues to urge residents to use caution in making their decisions about whether to wear a face mask.
While residents within the city and county will be able to make a personal decision about whether to wear a face mask when out and about, officials on Tuesday unveiled somewhat different plans for face mask policies in government-owned buildings.
City spokesman Shawn Hara said city employees will be required to wear masks while on city property, while residents, visitors and customers will be “encouraged” to wear face coverings, though not required.
Hara said the city will continue to post signage encouraging residents to wear a face mask and highly encourages mask wearing in general.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said county employees will be required to continue wearing masks while inside the courthouse, and residents and visitors will be required to do the same.
“In an effort to keep the public and our employees safe, masks will continue to be required upon entry to the courthouse,” he said.
Stoudt said the county purposefully chose to maintain the face mask requirement because as jury trials are resumed, traffic at the courthouse will increase. While jury selection will continue to be at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, jury trials at the courthouse are slated to resume in late March or early April.
“I have continued to say that this virus is not over yet,” Stoudt said. “We want our employees and our citizens to feel safe when they come to the courthouse, and we still need to do our part to keep people safe.”