On the first day of the new Dallas County COVID-19 mask mandate, some businesses were doing their part and many customers supported them.
At the same time, Dallas County was promoting vaccination in the areas with the lowest vaccination numbers.
Odyssey Pets on Preston Road near Beltline in North Dallas was one of the first businesses asking customers to wear masks last year when essential businesses remained open during stay-at-home orders.
Owner Mike Doan posted the new order issued by Dallas County Wednesday, but he said he is not thrilled about policing masks again.
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“We don't want to be in the middle of this. And this is a serious bug. And this one is going after kids. We want to stay open. We want to do it right. We want to be safe,” Doan said.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said he supports the mask mandate that took effect at midnight.
“We're not out here looking at emotion. We're looking at the science and as a result of the science we're going to fish where there are fish,” Price said.
That approach applies to Dallas County’s effort to promote vaccination in areas with the lowest numbers of people accepting shots so far in a recent study.
“According to the PCCI, the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, talking about areas that are unvaccinated,” Price said.
The tract in the PCCI study with the largest raw number of unvaccinated people is adjacent to Parkland Hospital, across Harry Hines Boulevard. It includes Children’s Medical Center, but also many apartment complexes with a large number of residents in the Market Center area along Stemmons Freeway. The study says 4,327 people were unvaccinated as of Aug. 6, about 57% of the population.
The area with the highest percentage unvaccinated according to the PCCI study was a portion of Glenn Heights in far south Dallas County. That area was 94% unvaccinated out of a population of 1,845.
An area near Odyssey Pets along Coit Road north of Spring Valley Road in Richardson
“I drive that street every day. That’s the unvaccinated zone,” Doan said.
The store owner said his staff is vaccinated and wearing masks.
One customer in the store Thursday is an emergency room nurse and also a parent.
Sara Murray’s children were in the store with her, all of them wearing masks.
“They're too young to be vaccinated. It's a big concern of mine. Going back to school is a huge concern of mine. I'm so glad they decided to make the masks mandatory,” Murray said.
Businesses that decline to participate in the new Dallas County mandate face fines of up to $1,000. They have three days to comply.
At the same time, Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have said they intend to fight the Dallas County rules.
In a lawsuit, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins won the ability to ignore the Governor’s order prohibiting mask mandates, but Abbott and Paxton said they will appeal to a higher court.
Information about vaccination in Dallas County by zip code can be found here.
What to Know
- CDC says Delta variant is nearly twice as contagious as previous coronavirus variants.
- The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to contract, and therefore transmit the virus.
- Layered prevention strategies, such as wearing masks indoors in public places, are needed to reduce the transmission of the Delta variant and stop the epidemic.