Eight Texas counties now have mask orders for businesses in place. County leaders have been following the example set by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
Wolff figured out the secret to setting up a local mask order that does not clash with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders — requiring businesses’ employees and customers to wear masks instead of putting the requirement directly on individuals.
Dallas County rolled out its mask requirement Saturday. If a business breaks the rule, it may face a $500 dollar fine. Businesses must post a health and safety policy, and failing to do so can result in a $1,000 dollar fine, the order states.
Mask requirements also depend on circumstances. You don’t have to wear a mask while eating, exercising outside, pumping gas or going to the bank, or if wearing a mask impacts a person’s health, the order states.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wore a Black Lives Matter mask Friday, when commissioners voted 2-3 on the mask mandate.
In Houston on Friday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed an order mandating that businesses require their customers to wear a mask
“We’ve recently seen disturbing #COVID19 trends and we must act swiftly to keep folks safe. We’ll use every tool available in this fight,” she tweeted.
The order went into effect Monday.
Hildalgo compared the order to a “no shirt, no shoes, no mask service” policy. All customers 10 years old and older will be required to wear a mask. Similar to Dallas County, you can eat, pump gas, exercise outside without a mask. Businesses will be fined $1,000 dollars, not individuals, for violating the order.
Austin’s mask mandate went into effect last week. Businesses must require customers to wear masks. Mayor Steve Alder said he hopes fines won’t be necessary.
“I know that it’s uncomfortable, and I know that it’s awkward, and it’s a nuisance, and it’s hot,” Alder said in an interview with KVUE last week. “No one wants to wear face coverings. I understand that, but no one wants to close the economy either,” Adler added.
The H-E-B and Kroger grocery chains are requiring masks at this time, too.
Other counties such as Montgomery, Galveston and Tarrant counties, do not have a mask mandate for businesses at this time.
Read our other stories on wearing masks during the pandemic here and here.