Collin County

Collin, Tarrant County Judges Will Not Issue Mask Mandates

Hill cited protecting personal liberty in a statement on his decision

NBC 5 News

After Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins required masks in all Dallas County public schools and commercial entities, both Collin and Tarrant County Judges said they would not do the same.

Collin County Judge Chris Hill released a statement Wednesday afternoon, citing protecting personal liberty for his decision.

"My primary responsibility as the County Judge is to protect your liberty, including your liberty to choose for yourself how best to protect the health and safety of your family," Hill said. "I will not a face mask order for Collin County."

Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley said he would not issue a mask mandate "while the Governor’s current order stands" in a Twitter post shortly after Hill's statement Wednesday.

"I am an ardent supporter of local control and still believe local governments should be given the tools to effectively fight emergencies," Whitley said on Twitter.

Jenkins issued the emergency order for mask requirements after securing a temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott's mask mandate ban on Tuesday.

In the temporary restraining order, 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker noted as part of Jenkins' role as county judge, he leads his government in providing safety protection for all citizens.

"I took an oath to faithfully execute the duties of my office and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the State of Texas," Hill said in his statement.

On Tuesday, Texas exceeded 10,000 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, the highest such number since early February.

In late February, Hill rescinded the COVID-19 disaster declaration he put in place in March 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, cases and positivity rate in Texas have reached levels not seen since early February.

Whitley continued to urge COVID-19 vaccinations in his tweets.

"I am in regular communication with mayors, superintendents, and hospitals and will continue to do everything in my legal power to promote the health and safety of Tarrant County," Whitley said on Twitter. "The truth is simple - we know our hospitals are filling up with unvaccinated individuals. I urge everyone to get the vaccine."

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