Coronavirus News

Dallas County adds new COVID-19 rule: cloth coverings for your face

Dallas County adds new COVID-19 rule: cloth coverings for your face

Bandanna face mask
Your face covering can be a display of your creativity. Facebook

We'll all be wearing some kind of mask, starting Saturday April 18, per a new directive from Dallas County.

The county is requiring anyone who visits essential businesses, essential business employees, or rides public transportation to wear a cloth covering. The ruling is designed to protect residents as well as front-line workers.

At a press conference on April 16, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins outlined what kind of coverings would work, and what prompted the action.

"We asked the public health people, what can we do to speed this thing up so we can get back to our lives faster?" he said. "And one of the things they said was to wear a homemade face covering. We're not asking anyone to go buy a surgical mask, we need those for response workers, and there's a shortage of those."

"We're not doing this because things are getting worse, although we are moving towards our peak, so we will see more cases and deaths," he said. "We're actually flattening the curve — but by doing this we can hopefully get over this faster."

He offered an amusing little show-and-tell with items he picked up at his house, including a "free gimme scarf" from a Dallas Cowboys game, a ski balaclava, and a pillowcase, which he said you could tie up like a bandanna around your nose and mouth.

"If you want to look like you're doing in a mug shot, you can use a towel," he said, smirking.

"Don’t think that a requirement for a face covering is something that is in any way insurmountable," he said. "One of easiest face coverings is to take any old cloth and cut out a 27x27-inch square that makes a large bandanna, like the cowboys wear riding into the dust storm."

Scenarios where face coverings are required: going to the grocery or big box store, and that's for kids, too.

Scenarios where face coverings are not required: riding in your car or walking around the neighborhood.

He said that police would not be actively enforcing, but stores had the right to do so.

"This is not me coming up with an idea," he said. "This is from public health officials saying this will make it faster and safer. The Retailers Association say this is a good idea. Uber said it protects our citizens. DART said they'd been wanting to do it and supported making it a requirement."

He also noted that officials have begun to observe what appears to be a loosening of the shelter-in-place.

"Police and nurses as they go to work have said they see a lot more cars out on the road, and it worries us," he said. "The more people out there bouncing around, the more this spreads and the longer it takes to get over with. Don’t we want to get this over with as soon as possible?"

"It's human nature to take your foot off the gas when you feel like you have a lead, but it just drags this out longer," he said. "Only go to the grocery store when you need things, and make a list ahead of time. Don't use big box stores as an entertainment venue; leave and let other people get what they need. Every trip represents some risk to ourselves, to the frontline workers at stores, and to the community at large."

The new directive follows the latest update on COVID-19 cases. Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 80 additional positive cases as of April 16, bringing the total count in Dallas County to 2,066.

There were also seven additional deaths including:

  • A male Dallas resident in his 60s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A male Dallas resident in his 60s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A male Dallas resident in his 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A female Garland resident in her 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A female resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas in her 80s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A male resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas in his 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.
  • A male resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas in his 80s who had been critically ill in an area hospital.