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Guadalupe County leaders mull over mask mandate

Active cases will have to stay under 20 per day for 30 straight days. Even then, leaders say it’s not guaranteed the mask order would be lifted.

GUADALUPE COUNTY, Texas — Coronavirus case numbers are trending lower in Guadalupe County and leaders there are keeping an eye on the latest info to determine if they’ll ask the governor to lift his mask order for their area.

Before that happens, active cases in the county will have to stay under 20 every day for 30 consecutive days. Even then, Guadalupe County leaders say it’s not guaranteed their area would be exempt from the mask order. 

“How can we do the right thing to protect all of us?” asked Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher.

The topic came up when a coronavirus response update for Guadalupe County Commissioners this week addressed Texas's ongoing mask mandate.

Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder reported the county fell below 20 active cases multiple times in the last few days.

“We'll continue to monitor the active cases and I'll brief the court when we have reached a point where I think we can submit that letter from the county judge, to try to lift that mask order if the court wishes,” Pinder said. 

Kutscher said there are community members who have concerns about a potential lifting of the  mandate along with those calling for the order to go.

“I think the public is still going to have an interest in removing that (order),” Kutscher said. “I think we all, like we talked about a couple weeks ago, want to get back to some type of normalcy. I have had a few people call saying (that), no matter what the numbers are, they want to leave (the masks) on. So (it's) still very divided as a community.”

The leaders plan to watch the numbers and keep the conversation going before making any moves.

“Our goal is to get to that point with no active cases,” Kutscher said. “We're going to continue to monitor that, do the best we can, communicate with the cities, try to all be on the same page, protect the public.”

Pinder also mentioned that the state released pages of new data this week, and county staff is working to make sure case numbers are accurate.