FORT WORTH, Texas - Tarrant County will now require all businesses in the county to mandate that customers and workers wear face coverings.
The order is similar to the one in place in Dallas County and other large counties across the state.
On Thursday, Tarrant County health officials reported 517 new COVID-19 cases, which is the highest daily total for any North Texas county up to this point, including Dallas County.
There were also three new deaths reported from the coronavirus. This brings the county's totals to 10,363 cases and 218 deaths related to COVID-19.
Tarrant County Judge Glenn Whitley and several mayors made the announcement Thursday morning. They are following suit with other large counties hoping to slow a recent COVID-19 spike by making face coverings required for public gatherings of more than 100 people and in businesses.
The judge had resisted the idea of having that kind of mandate as recently as Tuesday, saying he did not think he could force people to wear masks. But he noted a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County in recent weeks.
“If you leave home, put on a mask,” Whitley said.
“We’ve tried the voluntary compliance campaign,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “And, folks, we just weren’t seeing it.”
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Similar to orders in other counties, Tarrant County is prepared to impose fines on businesses that don’t comply.
Fort Worth Sundance Square shop owners are prepared.
“I will post a sign that says if you are going to shop in my store that we would appreciate and require you to wear a mask,” said Parts Unknown owner Lisa Dickinson.
In Arlington, the city’s July Fourth parade is set to roll, typically drawing tens of thousands of spectators. This year onlookers will celebrate to the beat of a countywide mask mandate.
Arlington relocated its July 3rd fireworks show from downtown to its entertainment district stadium parking lots with people urged to stay inside their vehicles. The parade follows on the morning of July Fourth.
“We also have a long parade route to be able to social distance, and we’ll be wearing masks along the route,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “Will have our emergency operations people scattered throughout the route to ensure compliance.”
The order goes into effect Friday night at 6 p.m.
CLICK HERE: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases