Dallas County

Dallas County to Revisit Face Covering Requirement After Governor Gives OK

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday that he plans to call an emergency Commissioner’s Court meeting to vote on a mask requirement as soon as possible.

“I’m very pleased that the Governor changed his policy on masks today,” said Judge Clay Jenkins.

Jenkins was referring to Governor Greg Abbott’s approval of a plan by Bexar County to enforce the use of face coverings in businesses.

Just last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had called similar orders by several local governments, including Dallas County, “unlawful.”  

But Wednesday, Governor Abbott said they’d be allowed as long as the policies are requirements on businesses to require face coverings and not requirements on individuals.

Jenkins wasn’t prepared to say how quickly a new ordinance could be put into place. Still, businesses took notice.

Though Greenville Avenue Pizza Company has been open for deliveries, owner Sammie Mandell said they’d put off reopening their dining room until they knew what this “new normal” would look like.

“Anything we can do to protect our staff and protect other customers coming in, well then we want to do that,” said Mandell.

Until today, he’d planned to simply ask customers to wear masks like his employees when the doors reopen next week.

Now, he’s cautiously prepared to move forward with a requirement.

“It does concern us a little bit that we would be the ones telling people to do it. That’s where we can just hope that people are very polite and understanding. At the end of the day, we’re just here to make pizza and serve people good food not be the enforcers of the law,” said Mandell.

But according to Jenkins, a new requirement would look no different than the county’s initial policy did back in May.

At that time, he said they weren’t ticketing individuals.

That would remain the case.

He said if the county moved forward with a policy to mirror Bexar’s, the only repercussion would be fines for businesses that don’t comply.

Though Jenkins said he’d already received a positive response from the business community Wednesday.

At the end of the day, Mandell said he’ll do whatever’s asked of him by the government and he assumes others will too.

He said the priority remains on keeping both his staff and those they serve safe.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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