Fort Worth ditches mandate to wear masks while Dallas doubles down
Dallas and Tarrant County officials are taking divergent paths following the controversial decision on March 2 by Gov. Greg Abbott to reopen the state for business and rescind the requirement to wear masks, effective March 10.
Abbott's announcement leaves the decisions to counties and in North Texas, it's one yes for masks and one no.
- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press conference on March 2 that he would continue to heed the advice of health professionals to keep wearing masks, wash hands, and keep a distance from others.
- Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley on the other hand issued an executive order stating that masks are no longer required at Tarrant County businesses, effective immediately. Whitley did say that businesses were allowed to require masks if they so desired. Eye roll.
A mask order remains in effect for Trinity Metro, with all employees and customers required to wear a mask while on any of Trinity Metro's service vehicles and when they are at any transit center.
"The health and safety of our customers and our employees are very important to us," Trinity Metro President and CEO Bob Baulsir said. "We will continue to comply with federal regulations to help keep everyone protected."
The Dallas Regional Chamber also offered its support of continued mask mandates, stating in a release, "we cannot forget that people in our community are still in hospitals, many people remain at risk, and the coronavirus has not yet been eradicated."
"Although we are encouraged by recent downward trends in the number of new reported coronavirus cases, declining hospitalization rates and decreased numbers of deaths across the Dallas Region, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is still with us and more than 80% of our community has not received a vaccination shot," the DRC said.
"Until a large majority of our community has been safely vaccinated, we believe it is important to remain vigilant in protecting ourselves, one another, and our community from the virus and we strongly encourage people to register for and receive the vaccine as soon as it is available to you," their release said. "As Governor Abbott said during yesterday's announcement, 'to stay safe, Texans should continue following medical advice on preventing COVID.'"