Reminder: Minimum Safe Standards Still Required Statewide
By David Doolittle

 COVID-19_Mask_Requirements

As some Texas counties have begun ordering businesses to require employees and customers to wear masks, physicians across the state also must comply with face-covering requirements – among other minimum safe practices – as required by the Texas Medical Board (TMB).

Eight of the state’s most populated counties have enacted mask requirements in response to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days. See the full list of county orders below.

Some of these county orders may be more restrictive than TMB’s minimum safe standards. The TMB emergency rule, which went into effect statewide May 1, requires – in part – that physicians, their delegates, and patients wear masks when the physician or delegate is less than 6 feet from the patient.

However, physicians, their delegates, and patients in counties that have enacted stricter face-covering ordinances – such as requiring masks at all times when in a building – must also comply with those requirements as applicable.

The TMB rule also requires certain medical settings to post a notice “in each public area and treatment room or area of the office, practice, or facility.”

TMB and the Texas Medical Association have published frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents to help clear up any confusion you might have about the emergency rule.

Texas’ dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is fueled in part by an increase in people attending social gatherings and activities. More Texans have been tested for the illness in recent days as well.

At a press conference today, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the rise in cases and hospitalizations while encouraging Texans to continue to stay inside as necessary, wear masks, and practice hand hygiene.

Since May 1, Texas has implemented a phased plan to open businesses and allow for more social activities. The plan emphasizes testing and contact tracing – or identifying everyone who’s come into contact with someone who contracted COVID-19.

It also calls on Texans to continue to take health precautions, such as avoiding face-to-face contact, wearing masks or other protection, washing hands, and disinfecting surfaces.

Find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center, which is updated regularly.

Counties that have ordered businesses to require employees and customers to wear masks, as of June 22. All but Hays County would impose fines on businesses that do not comply with the orders:

Last Updated On

June 22, 2020

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David Doolittle

Editor

(512) 370-1385

Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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