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Tarrant County Lifts Local Mask Mandate 'Effective Immediately'

TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - Tarrant County cancelled its local order requiring face coverings Tuesday, and Fort Worth's was set to expire at the end of the day.

Both entities had planned to have local orders extend until late May before Governor Greg Abbott's announcement that a state order would end next week.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said he didn't see any reason to wait.

"I think it's going to be very confusing," he said. "People are going to hear the masks are lifted, and they're going to think 'Well it's lifted now. Why do I have to continue to wear them for another week?'"

Tarrant County released the latest order Tuesday afternoon:

NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 418 and the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, be It Proclaimed and ORDERED that upon my signature below, the Executive Order issued on February 23, 2021, is hereby TERMINATED, effective immediately, and I hereby further ORDER the following:

1. Entities in Tarrant County providing goods or services to the public are no longer required to implement a health and safety policy that at a minimum requires that face coverings be worn on the entity's business premises; and

2. Nothing in this Executive Order precludes businesses or other establishments from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering; and

3. Nothing in this Executive Order modifies the Health and Safety Policy for Tarrant County Buildings and Facilities adopted on July 7, 2020, by the Commissioners Court.

ORDERED this the 2nd day of March 2021

Whitley originally put the order into effect last June, ahead of the state, requiring businesses to have a posted health safety policy that included face coverings.

Last week he said he wanted to see 50-60%of the population vaccinated before lifting the order. Before Gov. Abbott made the announcement Tuesday, Whitley said he hoped the state rule would stay in place at least through spring break, which is in a couple of weeks.

Fort Worth's city council was expected to extend its order Tuesday night, but will remove that item from consideration and allow the current order to expire at the end of the day.

In a statement Mayor Betsy Price said the city was still assessing the impact on city services, and wrote "Personal responsibility remains key."

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