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Dallas County Orders People To Wear Masks, But Won’t Issue Fines

A man inspecting a building wears face masks as he works atop a lift in downtown Dallas. Starting 11:59 p.m. April 17, face coverings - not necessarily medical masks - will be required in Dallas County.
LM Otero/Associated Press
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A man inspecting a building wears face masks as he works atop a lift in downtown Dallas. Starting 11:59 p.m. April 17, face coverings - not necessarily medical masks - will be required in Dallas County.

Dallas County Commissioners voted Friday to modify an order that requires people to wear face coverings while visiting or working at essential businesses or riding public transportation.

Commissioners voted 3-2 that there will be no fine or punishment for people who do not wear coverings. Originally, law enforcement was permitted to issue $1,000 fines.

The revised order went into effect late Friday night.

Commissioners also voted to reopen craft stores, so people can buy materials to make masks.

Homemade masks, scarves, bandanas or handkerchiefs are considered acceptable ways to cover up.  

Owners of businesses may refuse admission or service to people who don't wear face coverings.

Video: Learn How To Make A Homemade Mask

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUdBdlXY9BU

Commissioner John Wiley Price was critical of the mask order, issued by County Judge Clay Jenkins. He took issue with Jenkins, saying he doesn't think it sends the right message to his constituents.

“Let me use your vernacular,” Price said during Friday’s emergency meeting. “You know, they have been 'behaving.' So why do we – all of a sudden – inject this, without anything else in tow, to the equation?” 

Jenkins defended his order on social media.

“We are moving closer to a time when restrictions can be loosened,” Jenkins wrote on Twitter. “This common sense precaution recommended by health professionals will speed that up while providing better safety for frontline responders and the public at large.”

The order does not apply to people who are “engaging in outdoor activity” or to those who have trouble breathing.

The order applies to people over the age of 2. Children under the age of 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between ages 2 and 9 should use them but under adult supervision “to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation,” the order states.

Officials say the face coverings are not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing when out in public.