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Despite A Lack Of Clear National Or Statewide Guidance, Dallas Businesses Are Figuring Out How To Adapt To Dallas County’s Mask Order.

Dallas County businesses have been tasked with enforcing a new face mask mandate which at times is just as helpful as it is harmful. 

Last Friday, the Dallas Commissioners Court voted 3-2 in passing an order that would require customers to wear face masks inside all Dallas County commercial businesses. Commissioners John Wiley Price and J.J. Koch voted against it. 

The order does specify certain exclusions, one of which being no face covering needed if someone is eating or drinking. This can pose a challenge for restaurants and bars in Dallas, which have seen an increase in employees contracting the virus. Some businesses have even had employees test positive and allegedly chosen not to take CDC recommended action, according to some employees.

Early research suggests that masks do in fact reduce transmission of the virus. Masks, when paired with proper physical distancing and regular hand washing and sanitizing, are suggested for highest chances of preventing infection.

Though the conversation about masks has been clouded by political debate, it remains a necessary factor in safely navigating through the spread. A common argument being made by some is that being required to wear a face mask infringes on civil liberties. Or y’know, it’s just meant to keep us as safe as possible!

Still, without clear leadership on a national or even statewide level, the requirement of masks can be difficult for some to enforce. Despite his own admission that the virus is spreading in Texas at an “unacceptable rate,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to mandate a statewide requirement of masks. Other states with large case counts like California, Michigan and New York have ordered mask use.

However, on Friday morning, Abbott did take executive action to close bars and “similar establishments” that make more than 51% of sales through alcohol.

Bishop Cidercade, a bar and arcade in Bishop Arts, reopened following a number of safety guidelines that include a capacity of 50%, cashless transactions and extensive cleaning procedures. 

The bar’s co-founder, Joel Malone, says the face mask requirement will make things simpler and put an even expectation on everyone to keep staff and customers safe. 

“The reality is that people who are not okay with wearing a mask will either not come or they will leave once they come to the door and realize the requirements,” Malone says. 

While the overall response to order has been positive for Cidercade, Malone says he is prepared for expecting not everyone to be cooperative. 

After briefly reopening earlier this month, Three Links in Deep Ellum has plans to temporarily close again until August because of health concerns.  

“Instead of hospitality being our first priority, our first priority is now playing hall monitors for people who honestly just have no respect for their fellow man,” owner Scott Beggs says. 

As of publish, the total number of cases in Dallas County is 18,538 with 334 deaths. Statewide, Texas has had 136,783 cases and 2,321 deaths so far.

Like so many small businesses, we at Central Track face an uncertain future due to the effects of COVID-19. In eight years of operations, we’ve never locked our content from you through subscriptions or paywalls — but, in order to make it out through the other side of all this, we need your help. If you can, please consider supporting our coverage of all things Dallas culture by joining us on Patreon in exchange for exclusive perks or by donating directly through PayPal or Zelle to [email protected]

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