Q: What’s the penalty for violating Texas’ face mask order?

A: Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texans living in counties with more than 20 cases of COVID-19 wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in places where physical distancing isn’t possible.

People in those counties must wear a mask “when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household,” the order says, although there are several exceptions.

First-time violators are to receive a verbal or written warning, according to Abbott’s order. The order says that “a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.” Violations after that are also publishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.

Law enforcement officials are not allowed to detain, arrest or jail anyone found in violation of this order, but officials are allowed to enforce trespassing laws and remove people who are not wearing masks at the request or a business or property owner.

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