Firm News

New Dallas County Ordinance Requires Public to Wear Face Masks at Essential Businesses

By Jennifer Ryback
McGuire, Craddock & Strother
April 16, 2020

Dallas County has amended its “Safer At Home Order” to require cloth face coverings in certain situations, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 17. To read the full text of the Amended Order, visit: https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/covid-19/orders-media/041520-DallasCountyOrder.pdf.

To the greatest extent possible, the Amended Order requires some form of covering over the nose and mouth of all persons over age 2 when frequenting an essential business or using public transportation. Businesses may refuse admission or service to anyone not complying. The Amended Order also requires, to the greatest extent possible, non-medical employees in those essential businesses to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while performing their work.

Exhibit G to the Amended Order sets forth some additional guidance on this new requirement, which cautions that staying home is still the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but a face covering should be worn if an individual must leave their place of residence. A face covering is not required while: 1) riding in a personal vehicle; 2) engaging in outdoor activity; 3) eating; or 4) when wearing a covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Notably, individuals are recommended not to use surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as those supplies are critical for healthcare workers and first responders.

Exhibit G also provides, to the greatest extent possible, that employers are to provide employees with a mask or face covering when wearing one is required under the Amended Order. Lastly, Exhibit G provides that “[c]loth coverings should be made in accordance with CDC Guidance, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.”

Dallas County has also published a set of Frequently Asked Questions about Cloth Face Coverings that detail the specific types of cloth face coverings that should be worn (for example, a bandana or a scarf) and how to care for cloth face coverings. This set of FAQs can be found here: https://www.dallascounty.org/Assets/uploads/docs/covid-19/orders-media/041520-FAQ-ClothCoverings-ENGLISH.pdf.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Ryback at [email protected].

This correspondence should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.  The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and legal questions.  The information contained herein is current as of the date of this article.