The Plano City Council held an emergency city council meeting Tuesday night where they passed an amended ordinance that strongly recommends businesses and customers to wear masks. The ordinance doesn't involve penalties for businesses that do not enforce it.
The 5-3 vote came after hours of debate among council members and the public.
Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said out of 1,100 people who registered opinions about the original proposed ordinance, 83% were in favor of it.
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The majority of residents spoke in support of a mandate during the virtual meeting.
"We beg you, as a family, please adopt the mask ordinance. Let's stop COVID in our community and beyond," one resident said.
Critics said requiring masks is an overreach of government and a burden on businesses who will have to enforce the rules.
"Wearing a mask should be voluntary," one resident said.
“No one really likes to be told what to do but we have really been appealing to people’s hearts..when you put a mask on, it is not for yourself, it is for others,” said Mayor LaRosiliere before Tuesday's meeting.
LaRosiliere voted in favor of the original ordinance as well as an amended version proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Kayci Prince that would've allowed businesses to receive a warning for their first violation of the order. Businesses would have faced a fine of up to $500 for violating the ordinance a second time.
The amended version failed with a 4-4 vote.
Then, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Ricciardelli proposed a third version to remove the penalty clauses and change the word “regulation” to “strong recommendation.”
With those changes in place, the ordinance passed in a 5-3 vote. Councilmembers Rick Grady, Maria Tu and Mayor LaRosiliere opposed it.
“It’s just a wish," said Mayor LaRosiliere during the hours-long discussion.
The recommendation is in effect until Plano's first city council meeting in August.
Other cities and counties, including nearby McKinney, have already made masks mandatory in businesses.
At the Fillmore Pub in Plano, a sign on the door informs customers that masks are a requirement. Inside, social distancing and other precautions have been in place for weeks.
“It’s just something that we all need to be doing, it just makes more sense,” said Manager Ryan Beavers.
According to a city of Plano media release, other provisions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, including temperature checks and health screenings – could also be included.
“So who do you care about that you are willing to protect - family members, or friends,” LaRosiliere said. “It’s really an act of kindness and kindness is a strength.”
*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.