Houston wants police to fine people $250 for not wearing masks as the coronavirus ravages the city. The Houston police chief is urging people to wear a mask for the ‘greater good’

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks to the media before a march in honour of George Floyd on June 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Sergio Flores/Getty Images
  • Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday ordered police to issue citations to people who fail to wear masks in public.
  • People who ignore the citation could face a $US250 fine.
  • Turner wants to reduce the city’s high coronavirus positive rate to 5% by the end of August.
  • Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said people should wear masks for the greater good, the local CBS affiliate KHOU reported.
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Police in Houston will now issue citations to those who don’t wear masks in public, and those who ignore the citation could face a $US250 fine, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced on Monday.

“Lives are at stake and we must take these measures to ensure our numbers continue to go down from 17%,” Turner said in a tweet.

The local ABC News affiliate KTRK reported that at the end of July, Turner had urged residents to help get the city’s 23% coronavirus positive rate down to 5% by the end of August.

The city has been a regional epicentre for the coronavirus, with more than 1,000 cases recorded daily for the past five days, the CBS affiliate KHOU reported.

Some police departments across the country have in the past said they wouldn’t enforce mask ordinances. Insider reported last month that several police departments said they would not comply with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s face mask order requiring people who live in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering in certain settings.

The Houston Police Department and The Houston Police Officers’ Union did not immediately provide Insider with a comment on Monday night concerning whether they plan to enforce the mandate.

According to a report from KHOU, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said people should stop complaining about their rights and wear a mask for the greater good. Acevedo also said the wife of an officer had died from COVID-19 complications.

The Houston Fire Department also announced on Monday that Jerry Pacheco, a 17-year veteran of the department, died from the virus.

Harris County, where Houston is located, had more than 32,400 active coronavirus cases and 766 virus-related deaths as of Monday night.