NORTH TEXAS (CBDSFW.COM) – Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order requiring Texans in most counties to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces went into effect on Friday.
The goal is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a significant spike of virus cases in Texas.
CBS 11 reached out to the Dallas and Fort Worth Police Departments to find out how officers will handle enforcement of the new mandate.
The Governor said the first infraction will bring a verbal or written warning.
After that, someone not wearing a mask where one is necessary could face up to a $250 fine.
No one can go to jail for not wearing a mask.
Both the Dallas and Fort Worth Police Departments told CBS 11, they plan to educate and inform the public about the new order.
The Fort Worth Police Department said in a statement, “As far as police involvement, we will patrol areas as normal and the Pandemic Team will be working to educate any observed crowds about the mandates.”
The Dallas Police Department said in a statement, “DPD’s first line of defense is an educational approach. Officers are asked to inform residents of the executive order and the reasons for the implementation. Officers should ask them to wear face covering, and given the seriousness of this COVID-19 pandemic, violators are expected to adhere to the order and voluntarily comply.”
Dallas County reported 1,085 new positive cases of COVID-19 on Friday.
Up until Thursday when he announced the mask mandate, Gov. Abbott has encouraged Texans to wear masks, but was hesitant to require it.
Texas has seen a “swift and substantial spike in COVID-19 cases” in recent weeks and Gov. Abbott said, “We need to refocus on slowing the spread.”
The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department explained its handling of the mask mandate with the following statement:
“Enforcement of the County or Governor’s order regarding masks is low priority for our Office. We are focused on other responsibilities at this time.
As it relates to the Tarrant county buildings we are charged with providing security for – We have masks at every entrance and will ask people to wear a mask. If they refuse we are going to ask people to leave. We are going to work to deescalate any situation regarding masks. Our goal is that all people will be responsible and non-confrontational.“