Taos council makes masks mandatory

Violators could face a $500 fine or up to 90 days in jail

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Face coverings are now mandatory in the town of Taos.

In a special town council meeting Tuesday evening (June 30), councilors unanimously passed an amendment to the existing emergency order surrounding the coronavirus pandemic requiring all those in the town limits to wear a mask in public. 

“We really don’t want to become confrontational,” said Mayor Dan Barrone. “We want people to be aware that we are going to take this as seriously as we can.” 

The new language in the order calls, effective immediately for everyone over the age of 4 to wear a mask in public. The masks will be mandatory for anyone who is not exercising, eating or drinking in a public place. 

Those found in violation of the mask order could face a petty misdemeanor charge and fine. For a petty misdemeanor in the town of Taos, violators could face a $500 fine or up to 90 days in jail. 

According to town manager Rick Bellis, Taos Police will be patrolling and handing out masks to those who do not have one. 

“None of this does any good unless we have someone physically walking around in the field,” Bellis said. 

The order amendment comes as Taos cases of COVID-19 rose to 40 positives. Surrounding states have been witnessing a surge of the virus. New Mexico numbers have surged over 11,000 cases as businesses open up across the state and people congregate more in the summer.

For more on this story, see this Thursday's Taos News

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