DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Under a new order passed Friday, masks must be worn in all Dallas County businesses starting at midnight.
Dallas County is the latest local government in Texas to pass such a measure, following in the footsteps of Travis, Bexar and El Paso counties.
The order mandates that customers and employees on the premises who are within six feet of another person should wear a mask, although the requirement does not apply to those who are eating or drinking.
Businesses who violate the order could face up to $500 in fines, but individuals who defy the face mask order will not face punishment.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said law enforcement will not be involved in enforcing the measure. Spokeswoman Lauren Trimble added that enforcement will be “as light as possible.”
The commission approved the measure in a 3-2 vote, with J.J. Koch and John Wiley Price voting against the order.
Both commissioners raised concerns over enforcement and how the requirement would negatively impact small businesses that are struggling to survive.
“Right now it’s going to disproportionately affect small businesses,” Commissioner Koch said. “Big businesses will learn how to play the game, little ones will get hurt.”
“I’m always concerned about unequal treatment and undue impact on black businesses,” Commissioner Price said.
Several bigger companies, including Costco and Central Market, have already announced they will be mandating masks for in-store shoppers.
Brittany Stephens, an employee at FastSigns, said she supports the measure.
“Especially for me, when I’m interacting with lots of different people who interact with the outside, I never know who I’m going to engage with or interact with,” Stephens said.
Stephens said instead of turning away customers who do not wear masks, she plans on asking if she can assist them using curbside service.
Shanon Dickinson of the Pocket Sandwich Theatre said she, too, supports the mask measure.
The Pocket Sandwich Theatre, which has been closed since the start of the pandemic, plans on reopening July 9.
Dickinson said the theater will provide masks for patrons who do not bring their own.
Patrons will be asked to wear a mask inside the theater unless they order food.
“We will have masks offered here, so if they don’t come in with a mask, ‘Here’s a mask,'” Dickinson said.
But for some customers, wearing a mask has become second nature.
“This is for our safety and everyone else’s safety and if we can keep the curve down that’s what we’re looking for,” said Jen Cauthern-Allen, who wore a mask at a nail salon off Mockingbird Lane.
The order extends through August 4.