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Local & State Health Orders

Decisions about when and how to reopen your business are governed by several layers of federal, state and local government. Some of the information they provide is recommended guidance; some of the information they provide has the force of a legal mandate. Information presented below distinguishes between the two.

Updated 10/15/2020

Can I open my business?

Following a spike of cases, the City of El Paso issued new restrictions on local businesses:

  • Non-essential businesses must reduce their occupancy from 75% to 50%.
  • Restaurants must close at 9 p.m., except for take-out/drive-thru.
  • Elder care facilities must not allow visitors.
  • New waivers of outdoor events including farmers markets and weddings will no longer be granted.

All bars in El Paso County, including those within City limits, must remain closed. Click here to read the full text of the October 15 emergency directive.Visit for other information on restrictions related to gatherings, social activities and sporting events.

Are Face Coverings Required in Businesses?

In most cases, yes. The City of El Paso’s 4th Local Emergency Order requires every person in El Paso to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when inside a commercial building or public entity or when in an outdoor public space when it is not feasible to keep six feet apart from people who don’t live in their household. This emergency directive has the force of legal directive and infractions are punishable by a fine of up to $500. Click here to read the emergency order.

What About Exemptions to Government orders?

Many of the State of Texas’ COVID-19 business regulations do not apply to counties which have fewer than 1,000 cumulative cases. However, because El Paso surpassed 1,000 cumulative cases in May 2020, those exemptions do not apply here.  

Should I open my Business?

This is one of the most consequential decisions a business owner can make. Owners should take into account the health, safety and comfort of their employees, their customers, their vendors and others. As a business owner, you have important responsibilities if you operate during the pandemic. While it doesn’t have the force of law, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to produce this guidance for workplaces.