DALLAS — Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an emergency order that requires residents to wear a mask in certain public, indoor spaces.
This comes after a judge granted a temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate ban. Masks will be mandatory in all child care facilities, PreK-12 schools, business and Dallas County facilities. These places must also develop a health and safety policy.
The order takes effect Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 11:59 p.m. Any business that doesn’t put a health and safety policy in place within three calendar days may result in a fine up to $1,000 for each violation.
“This is all of us, we’re all team public health and the enemy is the virus and right now the enemy is winning. The enemy has transformed itself into the delta variant,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins filed a temporary restraining order and declaratory judgment Monday to prevent Abbott’s mask ban from being enforced. This comes as the Texas Department of State Health Services Tuesday reported 17,401 new cases of the virus, 13,935 of which are confirmed and 3,466 of which are probable.
There were 84 new fatalities attributed to the virus Tuesday. Texas currently has 10,041 people being treated for COVID in hospitals. The state is down to just 329 available ICU beds.
Dallas ISD already has a mask mandate in place as of Aug. 10.
Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced plans to appeal the judge's decision. They claim Jenkin’s order violates Abbott's executive order GA-38 and state law. GA-38 prohibits governmental entities and officials from mandating face coverings.
“Under Executive Order GA-38, no governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” said Abbott. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates. The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
“This isn’t the first time we have dealt with activist characters. It’s deja vu all over again,” Paxton said. “Attention-grabbing judges and mayors have defied executive orders before, when the pandemic first started, and the courts ruled on our side – the law. I’m confident the outcomes to any suits will side with liberty and individual choice, not mandates and government overreach.”