A new mask order for Dallas County goes into affect Aug. 12 for all public schools, businesses and child care centers to require masks indoors. All Dallas County buildings will also require the use of masks from now on.
The order has no end date, stating that it is effective until rescinded by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Schools, businesses and childcare centers are required to develop a Health and Safety Policy that at a minimum requires to use of masks indoors, per the order.
This comes a day after Jenkins received a temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask ban mandate. A Dallas County district judge ruled Aug. 10 that “immediate or irreparable injury, loss, or damage” would happen to Dallas County citizens without being able to mandate masks or other mitigation strategies.
Dallas County reported nearly 3,300 new cases over the weekend and Monday. An analysis by UT Southwestern Medical Center for the region found that hospitalizations have increased by 97% over the past two weeks, and estimates that there will be more than 1,800 new cases per day by Aug. 30. They also predict to see more than 1,500 hospitalized patients in the same time frame.
“This is about ensuring there’s adequate medical resources and, hospital bed capacity to take care of people with COVID and any other condition that requires medical care or hospitalization,” Jenkins said after filing for the restraining order. “Ultimately, it is about saving lives and saving and protecting children.”
Dallas ISD shared earlier this week that it would enforce masks on campus despite the governor’s order starting Aug. 10. Neighboring Richardson ISD shared that it will abide by the new mask mandate starting Aug. 12.
Beginning Aug. 14, businesses can be fined up to $1,000 for each person a business allows to enter without a mask. If businesses take “reasonable steps” to enforce the mask requirements, they will not be fined, the order states.
No civil or criminal penalty will be placed on individuals who fail to wear a mask, according to the county.
As of July 31, about 61% of Dallas County residents age 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This includes 85% of residents age 65 years and older; 69% of residents aged 40-64; 55% of residents aged 25-39; 45% of residents between 18-24 years of age; and 36% of residents aged 12-17.
Read the new mask mandate and temporary restraining order in full below.