Denton issues mask mandate to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant

The city of Denton is the latest to issue a mask mandate despite the governor’s order. It goes into effect Friday.

Denton now requires masks for public schools, childcare centers, most businesses, and city-owned buildings.

The city council passed it by a vote of five to two, with Mayor Gerard Hudspeth and Councilman Jesse Davis voting against it.

The ordinance is similar to the one adapted by Dallas County, which follows Centers for Disease Control guidance recommending masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

RELATED: Dallas County mask mandate starts Thursday due to COVID-19 Delta variant outbreak

Gov. Greg Abbott has warned local governments that defy his executive order banning mask mandates will face a lawsuit.

He’s already in a legal battle with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

"The Dallas judge in the temporary restraining order basically said the governor has the authority, which I completely agree with, has the authority to be our general in the fight to mitigate this virus. But he doesn't have the authority to enter the war on the side of the virus and mitigating is what it's all about," said Mayor Pro Temp Paul Meltzer.

"I reject this notion this city council is in some kind of trolley problem where you pull a lever and get to decide who gets to live and who gets to die," said Davis, who voted against the mandate. "The hubris to think we control that lever, to think our mask mandate is going to save somebody’s life."

RELATED: Collin and Tarrant County judges say they won’t issue mask mandates

During the five-hour emergency meeting, council members also heard from residents. Some pleaded for a mask mandate while others promised to defy the order.

Hospitals in Denton County are running out of intensive care beds. There are just 10 left for a county that serves 880,000 people.