Weatherford resident James Thomas said he is frustrated after visiting two local businesses and seeing that employees were not wearing masks.

Thomas said he went to his local gym for classes on two separate occasions and noticed a trainer as well as other participants of the class were not wearing a mask.

“It’s been probably two months that I remember going to the gym. I had a mask on, and I went to reception and they had a mask on. This is a senior class and a number of people did have their mask on, but that day there were 15 or 16 people [in the class] and only three of us kept our mask on,” Thomas said. “The fans were running above, so if anybody was asymptomatic, the entire room would get it.”

Thomas said he returned the next day for class and was greeted by an employee that also was not wearing a mask.

“The same thing happened, there were only two or three of us [wearing a mask] and it was at that point I thought, no I can’t do this,” Thomas, 75, said. “I live at Weatherford Town Center Apartments, it’s a community of senior citizens, and if I were to get this and give it to them, I would never forgive myself. It’s just too dangerous, so I have been doing exercises at home and walking on the treadmill.”

Last week, Thomas said he went to a local pharmacy where he saw the same thing — no employees were wearing masks.

“My home pharmacy is Walgreens and all the people behind the counter wear masks and it’s on the door that you’re supposed to wear a mask. I went back outside and looked at the door [of another local pharmacy] and there’s nothing at all — no notice about wearing a mask,” Thomas said. “The thing that upsets me is that you’re in a pharmacy and the pharmacist is counting out pills that he is giving to people that are potentially ill or sick and have their immune system down, and he’s breathing on these pills and he has no mask on.”

Thomas said at both businesses when he inquired as to why employees were not wearing masks, he was told that “the judge” did not require them to wear masks. However, County Judge Pat Deen told the Weatherford Democrat he is not aware of that.

“I am not aware of any employee of the county telling any business they do not have to wear masks,” Deen said. “Each business in Parker County, as many do, have the option to encourage/enforce the wearing of masks prior to entering their place of business.”

Complaints in Weatherford are now handled by the city itself internally instead of at the county level.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on July 2, which states that every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoors space wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.

“We are under executive orders including No. GA-29 relating to the use of face coverings and are subject to appropriate enforcement as outlined in the order,” Weatherford Director of Communications and Marketing Blake Rexroat said, adding that the city has received complaints about employees not wearing face coverings.

Violators of the order may be subject to a verbal or written warning for a first violation, a fine not to exceed $250 for a second violation and additional fines not to exceed $250 per violation following. No law enforcement official may detain, arrest or confine in jail any person for violating the order, but may enforce trespassing laws and remove violators.

Some counties are not subject to the face-covering requirement, however, Parker County is not on that list. The list can be found by visiting the Texas Department of Emergency Management website at www.tdem.texas.gov/ga29

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