The Dallas County Commissioners approved an order requiring businesses to require employees and customers to wear face coverings where six feet of separation isn’t feasible or face a fine of up to $500 during an emergency meeting Friday morning.
Commissioners approved the order 3-2 with Commissioners Elba Garcia and Theresa Daniel voting with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins in favor of it, and Commissioners John Wiley Price and J.J. Koch voting against it.
“The business community and the healthcare community are telling us that (this) is the most important thing we can do to save lives, arrest the spread, and help keep businesses open,” Jenkins said during the meeting.
Price and Koch said they were concerned that small businesses and those owned by people of color might be disproportionately impacted by the order and questioned how it would be enforced.
“Why do they need us? They can do that,” Price said, referring to businesses’ ability to deny service to customers not wearing masks if they chose.
Dallas County’s order came after Gov. Greg Abbott, in an appearance on KWTX, didn’t object Wednesday to a similar order by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff requiring businesses to require employees and customers to wear face coverings when six feet of separation isn’t feasible or face a $1,000 fine.
“There has been a plan in place all along. All that was needed (was) for local officials to actually read the plan that was issued by the state of Texas,” Abbott told the TV station about the Bexar County order at the time, which was also reported by the Dallas Morning News. “It turned out earlier today that the county judge in Bexar County finally figured that out.”
This story will be updated as more information comes in.