Indications are that compliance has risen when it comes to residents wearing facial coverings and following social distancing orders in Dallas County.
Dallas County Commissioners added the facial covering order last week, effective Saturday in most public places.
Over the weekend, Dallas reported fewer complaints about disaster declaration violations. There were 196 complaints in Dallas from April 18-19, compared with 356 in the two-day period of April 10-11.
The owners of Odyssey Pets in North Dallas kept their doors open as an essential business providing pet food. But Mike Doan and Sherry Redwine said they felt nervous earlier in April about their own health because many customers were not wearing masks. They posted a Facebook Live video on April 9.
“It seems like a lot of people aren’t taking the mask question very seriously and we are. We’re wearing our masks while doing business,” Doan said. “When I’m wearing the mask, I’m protecting you if I were asymptomatic.”
Since last week’s order to wear masks, Doan said Monday that he’s seen a big change.
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“People have been complying, I would say, at a much higher rate. Previous to the order we had maybe 20% of people wearing a mask in the store and now it’s up close to 80% who are wearing a mask, and that has been a great improvement just generally," he said.
To encourage social distancing in their store, the owners have limited the number of customers in some places and put markers on the floor in others to keep people apart.
They’ve noticed many of the same measures at the Tom Thumb grocery store in the same shopping center on Preston Road at Belt Line Road. From the parking lots, NBC 5 found most customers and employees wearing masks at the Tom Thumb and at a Trader Joe's store across Preston Road.
As a concession for the added requirement of facial coverings in stores, Dallas County Commissioners allowed craft stores that sell school and mask supplies to reopen effective Saturday.
But it appeared the stores needed more notice to open their doors. A Michaels store on Greenville Avenue had a sign on the door that said it would open Tuesday.
A JOANN fabric store on Preston Road at Forrest Lane had a sign that said it would open Friday, and a Hobby Lobby on Preston near Belt Line Road had no opening date posted at the door.
Odyssey Pets is selling face covering made by a former employee who is staying home.
“Every time we get them in, we sell out. They're really nice,” Redwine said.
But some customers at the pet store still refuse to cover their faces.
“We've run into some pretty stiff opposition to masking among the few that have chosen not to wear a mask, and this is a no conflict zone here. We really want people to be safe,” Doan said.
Dallas County Commissioners declined to impose enforcement of the facial covering order, though it seems most people are going along.
Commissioners will meet again Tuesday with coronavirus briefings and extension of the current orders on the agenda.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.