To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, orders for facial coverings in businesses by employees and customers were signed by county judges of Cameron and Hidalgo counties on Wednesday.

Cameron’s order will be effective on Friday, while Hidalgo County’s mandate will be implemented Wednesday. However, Hidalgo County businesses are not required to comply until Friday. The order will be active until further notice.

Facial coverings include bandanas, sewn cloth masks, handkerchiefs, or pieces of clothing. Cameron is also requiring that community members stay 6 feet away from each other. 

In Cameron, a fine not exceeding $500 will be given for each violation committed five days after the mandate is implemented, which will be June 24. 

Tuesday evening, Cameron reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 and one death. The total number of cases seen there is 1,236, and the death toll is 45. 

“I am growing more concerned as the number of infections in Hidalgo County continue to rise,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release. “Despite abundant publicity that the rate of infection is increasing locally, too many residents appear to be ignoring common sense preventive measures.”

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez speaks Sunday, March 22, 2020, during a Hidalgo County Commissioners Court emergency meeting in Edinburg where officials discussed a plan to combat the speed of the coronavirus. (Joel Martinez |

This comes a day after Hidalgo County saw 143 new cases, the largest single-day increase of positive cases. The county’s tally of cases is now 1,255.

The county recommends that anyone over 3 years old wear a facial covering over their nose and mouth.

“Getting beyond this deadly virus will take a collective effort of everyone in Hidalgo County,” Cortez said. “The single biggest complaint I am hearing these days is that too many people refuse to wear facial coverings. I hope this encourages people to do what we know will work to slow the spread of this disease.”