Will masks be required on Tarrant County property? Commissioners will vote on Tuesday

Brian Lopez
·2 min read

The Tarrant County Commissioners Court will decide Tuesday whether to require face coverings on county property.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he is lifting the statewide mask mandate and reopening businesses at 100% effective March 10. County Judge Glen Whitley immediately rescinded the county order in an effort to avoid confusion, he said. People in Tarrant County and across Texas still do need to wear face coverings as Abbott’s order still hasn’t been lifted.

Whitley said the commissioners could vote to require that everyone wears a face covering on county property, or that only employees and staff must wear masks, or that no one has to wear one. The judge doesn’t know what way he’ll vote. He wants to talk to department heads to gauge how employees feel on the matter.

“We’re just going to have to get to Tuesday and decide,” he said.

Before Abbott’s announcement on Tuesday, Whitley had extended the county’s mask mandate until at least May 25 and expressed that he was “not yet ready to pull the plug on the masks.”

After Abbott’s decision, Whitley said felt there was no reason to keep his order in place. He believes the governor played politics with the mask order as county judges can adopt “COVID-19-related mitigation strategies” if the trauma service area has high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

But if this were to happen, Whitley said he can’t enforce measures and called Abbott’s decision a way to shift blame to local officials if they need to put mandates in place.

“Let’s have one person do it from Austin who lives and breathes nothing but politics,” Whitley said about the politics of the mandate. “I mean it’s just as ridiculous as ‘I’m going to declare this on Texas Independence Day’.”

The judge will also not defy the governor as the state has in the past sued local officials that go against the governor’s COVID-19 orders.