Dallas County Passes Mask Ordinance With Opposition

Dallas County mask ordinance
Sew You Care Masks Photo by Jessy Gillespie

Dallas County Businesses Will Require Customers To Wear Masks

Dallas- To wear a mask or not to wear a mask, that seems to be the question haunting officials since early March. With COVID-19 cases crushing records in North Texas, and more specifically Dallas County, some officials point to masks as a possible solution to stop the spread.

Yesterday, as Dallas County reported the highest number of hospitalizations, Judge Jenkins emphasized the effectiveness of masks.

“Recent medical studies and the reports coming from them tell us that masks are the single most important tool we have to stop the spread and surge in cases and infections that we are seeing and keep our economy moving. You don’t need to wait on the government to wear a mask when on public transportation or at businesses,” said Jenkins in a press release.

This morning the Dallas County Commissioners Court held an emergency meeting to consider a county-wide face covering policy. The hot button issue: is it the place of government to enforce/legistate the wearing of a mask, or can they just encourage it?

Commissioner John Wiley Price posed the question on how will the mask policy be enforced, specifically how will small businesses enforce the policy. At the heart of his concern is the undue negative impact on black businesses. Price said, “We will encourage businesses to wear masks, we all will join you in encouraging. We just don’t want to be the heavy hand of government, saying you’ve got to wear a mask.”

Commissioner Koch argued, “Your asking us to put guys with guns at the heart of this.” This isn’t a partnership, you’re asking us for force.

Who will be fined? Who will enforce the order?

Additional debate issues centered around whether the business or the customer would be fined. Also, who would be responsible for issuing citations or enforce penalties. Eventually the Dallas County mask ordinance passed with 3-2 vote. Judge Jenkins, Commissioners Dr. Theresa Daniel, and Garcia voted in favor of the ordinance. Commissioners Koch and Price voted against the mandate.

Per the order, “Masks will be required in all commercial entities in Dallas County providing goods or services directly to the public.”

The order was amended to reduce the amount of the fine from $1000 to $500 per offense. Also, it does not include law enforcement carrying out any punishments, but will be the responsibility of code enforcement.

Afterwards, Commissioner Price told us “the inmates are running the insane asylum.”

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on June 19 and runs through August 4.