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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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15730 views   |   24   |   Last updated on Mar 16, 2021    Masks COVID-19

Effective March 10th, the statewide mask requirement put in place by the governor's previous Executive Order EO-29 [PDF] has been rescinded by Executive Order EO-34 [PDF]. Under EO-34, only local governments in areas with high hospitalization rates can require individuals to wear masks. Local COVID-19 orders also prohibit imprisonment as a penalty for violating the order and prohibit any penalties (like a fine or fee) for failing to wear a mask or require that your employees or customers wear masks. 

However, a business or other establishment can continue to require masks as a matter of business policy, similar to a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" policy that you may encounter at some businesses. If a person refuses to leave a business for failing to comply with the businesses' mask policy, law enforcement can act at the business or property owners' request to remove the person for violating trespassing laws. 

For more information on EO-34 [PDF], please see the Mask Laws page of the COVID-19 & Texas Law research guide

If you would like to report a violation of a local order regarding face masks or face coverings, you can contact your local law enforcement officials. Local law enforcement would include a county sheriff's office, a city police department, a county fire marshal, or possibly a county public health department.  Each local order is different and has its own language about enforcement procedures, but most will generally point you to local law enforcement officials for enforcement.

It's a good idea to review any local orders that may be in place in your areas for information on reporting violations, so visit our COVID-19 Orders & Laws page on the COVID-19 & Texas Law guide for information on how to locate any local orders in effect where you live or work.

Unless it is an emergency, use a non-emergency line to contact local law enforcement. These numbers are often posted online. If you have trouble finding a number to call, you can Ask a Librarian for help.

In many urban or populous areas, you can often dial 3-1-1 on your phone to be connected with a non-emergency line for your local law enforcement.

Businesses that sell alcohol are regulated by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). If the business violating the order is an establishment licensed by the TABC, the governor's executive orders allow TABC to suspend licenses. If you'd like to report a bar or other business that sells alcohol to the TABC for violations, you can contact TABC directly by phone at (888) 843-8222 or by e-mailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov. There are also many TABC regional offices across the state that you could contact.

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