As of Friday, face coverings will officially be required in all indoor businesses in Tarrant County.
The order, announced on Thursday, requires the wearing of face masks at grocery stores, bars, and restaurants, goes into effect at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26, and is set to expire on August 3. It also applies to outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more. Businesses found in violation of the order could face a fine of up to $1,000, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said during a press conference announcing the order. “If you leave home, put on a mask,” he said.
The order instructs that all business employees and visitors must wear face coverings when in an area or performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public. It also requires that patrons who do not wear a face covering can be asked to leave the premises and not be provided goods or services until the face covering requirements are followed. “Any peace officer or other person with lawful authority is hereby authorized to enforce the provisions of this Executive Order as permitted by law,” the order reads.
Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said the order would hopefully take some onus off of business owners to enforce mask policies individually.
“It’s become so politicized and become part of some culture war that I didn’t even know existed,” he said.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price tweeted a similar sentiment Thursday afternoon.
The reality is our cases are trending in the wrong direction and in order to keep Fort Worth open - masks are required. -Mayor Betsy Price (4/4) pic.twitter.com/WjFXqurmG9— Betsy Price (@MayorBetsyPrice) June 25, 2020
“While I never want to place unnecessary burdens on the backs of our business, especially as they are already struggling due to COVID-19, the reality is our cases are trending in the wrong direction and in order to keep Fort Worth open - masks are required,” she wrote.
Tarrant County has so far been reluctant to issue a masking order, with officials saying just a week ago that they would not be issuing such an order, WFAA reported. However, on Wednesday, the country reported 460 new infections, the second-highest total in a single day since the pandemic began, according to NBCDFW. As of June 25, 218 people have died from the virus in the county.
Tarrant joins neighboring Dallas County, which issued a mask order last week that includes a $500 fine and expires August 4.