ELSA, Texas — As Valley residents use masks and gloves to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, there’s a problem local authorities are seeing; people littering parking lots with those gloves.

“It’s not the time to be going out in public because this virus is very contagious,” said Patrol Sergeant Jose Barroentos.

Officers at the Elsa Police Department are seeing gloves left behind in parking lots.

“They’re treating the gloves as I don’t need them anymore I can leave them in the cart. Whereas kids or another person can come in contact with them, and we don’t know where they’ve been or when they used them,” he said.                                                                                                       

COVID-19 is usually spread from close contact from person to person.

Depending on the surface, it can last for hours. Meaning a greater chance for a new person to get infected.

Police are asking residents to roll off their gloves and place them in plastic bags to throw away.

In Weslaco, residents will be cited under the Texas Health & Safety Code, which is a class C misdemeanor and can carry a fine up to $500.

Residents in Elsa can also be fined for littering.

“We can respond to a tornado. We can respond to a flood. We can respond to a natural disaster, but this is something we’ve never experienced,” said Sergeant Jose Barroentos. “We have to start citing and issuing citations.”

Authorities will continue to find those who are littering until the pandemic ends.