FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The judges of Tarrant and Collin counties have said they will not mandate face masks despite an order issued in Dallas County Wednesday afternoon.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins signed an executive order that requires masks inside schools, businesses and county buildings. He cited the continuing surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the reason for his decision.
Jenkins’ mandate also came despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order that bans mask mandates. A district court judge in Dallas County issued a temporary restraining order late Tuesday evening on Abbott’s executive order.
With the mask order going into effect in Dallas County late Wednesday evening, residents in other parts of North Texas were left wondering if they should expect similar mandates.
However, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and Collin County Judge Chris Hill made it clear they will not issue face mask orders in order to comply with the governor’s order.
Tarrant County will not issue a mask mandate while the Governor’s current order stands. I am an ardent supporter of local control and still believe local governments should be given the tools to effectively fight emergencies. (1/3)
— Tarrant County Judge – B. Glen Whitley (@judge_whitley) August 11, 2021
“Tarrant County will not issue a mask mandate while the Governor’s current order stands. I am an ardent supporter of local control and still believe local governments should be given the tools to effectively fight emergencies. I am in regular communication with mayors, superintendents, and hospitals and will continue to do everything in my legal power to promote the health and safety of Tarrant County. The truth is simple – we know our hospitals are filling up with unvaccinated individuals. I urge everyone to get the vaccine,” Whitley said in a statement.
“I took an oath to faithfully execute the duties of my office and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States and the State of Texas. My primary responsibility as the County Judge is to protect your liberty, including your liberty to choose for yourself how best to protect the health and safety of your family. I will not issue a face mask order for Collin County,” Hill said in a statement.