Denton's mayor, school district won't enforce mask mandate passed by city council

The city of Denton was the latest to issue a mask mandate despite the governor’s order, and It went into effect Friday.

The ordinance in Denton is worded the exact same as the mandate Dallas County issued Wednesday, but Denton ISD revealed they are not planning to follow the city's mask mandate.

Businesses are confused about what to do, and the mayor said he's not bothering to enforce anything.

"We turn on the news and we are trying to adapt and adjust as things are getting thrown at us," said Lin Nolet, manager of Loophole Restaurant.

When Nolet woke up Friday, there was a new emergency order in Denton, causing her to change the writing on her chalkboard outside her downtown business. 

"I am all for people wear the masks, I am all for vaccinations, but I am not for a mandate. That is not lawful," Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said.

At Thursday night’s emergency city council meeting, the mayor was one of two members on the council to vote "no" on a mask mandate, which directly defies Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order banning such mandates.

The governor’s order goes against advice from the CDC and local health officials.

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

"Join us. Be on the side of protecting your fellow Texans. Support us," one councilmember said at the meeting.

The ordinance, on paper, looks similar to Dallas County’s. 

It requires masks inside public schools, childcare centers, businesses that serve customers, and city owned buildings. 

Mayor Hudspeth believes the council overreached. 

"You should model the behavior you want people to follow. We want people to follow our ordinances. We don’t want people to find loopholes or challenge those," he said.

The order said businesses would have to put up a sign that says masks are required.

Failure to do so would result in a fine.

The mayor’s not enforcing that.

At the Loophole Restaurant and Bar, Nolet said she’s asking for patience through the confusion. 

"We are doing the best that we can. We are trying to make it great for everyone," she said.

The school district also won’t require masks. Some parts of the district extend past city limits.

For now, masks are just encouraged.

Some elementary school parents FOX 4 spoke with said they’ll mask their kids.

"It’s for the safety of everybody," Nicole Walters said.

While others said they will not.

"I think, for me, it’s a matter of having to keep it on for seven or eight hours a day. That’s a lot," Natalie Green said.

Denton County reported almost 400 new COVID-19 cases Friday. There are only about 10 ICU beds left in the county. 

The new ordinance doesn’t extend to higher education institutions.

The University of North Texas said it’s still reviewing its mask policy. Right now, they are not mandatory.