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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Signs Order Requiring Masks Inside Schools, Businesses

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -- Face masks will be required inside schools and businesses in Dallas County, according to an executive order signed by Judge Clay Jenkins on Wednesday.

The order comes despite Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that bans mask mandates. Jenkins said the governor's order is wrong for the current status of COVID-19 at the moment.

According to the order, public schools, child care centers and businesses will have to develop health and safety plans that include, at minimum, face mask requirements for employees and visitors.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 11, 2021.

For businesses that do not provide a health and safety plan within three days, they may be subject to fines up to $1,000 for each violation. The order allows any peace officer or person with lawful authority to enforce the order's provisions.

According to the order, faces masks and coverings will also be required inside buildings and offices operated by Dallas County regardless of vaccination status.

As for general public areas, masks will be "strongly urged" by people over the age of 2 when indoors. The order made it clear that there will be no civil or criminal penalty imposed if a person does not wear a mask in general public areas.

Jenkins pointed to the current hike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as motivation for the mask mandate. He said daily case counts have doubled in the last two weeks.

Earlier this week, Jenkins sued Abbott over mask rules.

A district court judge in Dallas County issued a temporary restraining order late Tuesday night, Aug. 10, on Abbott's executive order banning mask mandates by local governments and school districts.

A temporary injunction hearing is set for Aug. 24.

For now, the order does not mention provisions on any capacity limits for businesses. When asked about this, Jenkins said health experts are still looking into the current COVID-19 situation daily.

Full News Conference With Judge Jenkins


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