DENTON, Texas - There will not be a county-wide mask mandate in Denton County.
Commissioners say there just aren't enough county resources to properly enforce it. Instead, it will be up to each individual city. Denton already has its own.
Denton County commissioners reacted Tuesday after passionate interaction from constituents both for and against a mask mandate. It was in stark contrast to recent action by the city of Denton.
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On the heels of a COIVD-19 spike, Denton County judge Andy Eads led the discussion Tuesday pointing to Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order which only permits civil penalties against businesses, not individuals, and puts the burden on local jurisdictions to create and enforce the rules.
“It’s easy to say let’s do something to make everyone feel good, but how do you enforce it?” asked Denton County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell.
“There’s not a disconnect there. It’s how do we get there?” Eads said. “How do we have the true enforcement ability of that? How do we enforce something that is unenforceable by the governor’s most recent order?”
In a FOX 4 interview Monday, the governor explained his reasons for rejecting calls for a statewide mask mandate.
"A statewide policy has a challenge because there are so many places in the state of Texas that have no COVID cases whatsoever as a result,” Abbott said. “What I can tell you is this about two-thirds of the state are under mask orders as we speak. So we will see some positive results coming from the mask orders already in place.”
On Friday, the city of Denton adopted an order to require its businesses to implement a mask mandate. Enforcement begins July 1. Citizens are encouraged to report violators using a mobile app.
The county, however, has a different tune.
“I cannot at this time support a mask mandate for businesses,” said Commissioner Dianne Edmondson. “And I earnestly implore my fellow Denton County residents to willingly choose to wear a mask and practice social distancing when in public.”
The county commissioners mentioned they would explore an aggressive marketing campaign in lieu of a mandate urging its residents to wear masks and social distance.