By Brad Nitschke & Gary Fowler
In an emergency session this morning, Dallas County Commissioners approved an amended order by County Judge Clay Jenkins that imposes face covering requirements for individuals and businesses in Dallas County. Effective June 19, all commercial entities in Dallas County must adopt a health and safety policy that, at a minimum, requires employees and visitors to wear face coverings when “in an area or while performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet of separation is not feasible.” Businesses who fail to adopt and implement such a policy by June 25 may face a fine of up to $500 per violation.
Separately, Judge Jenkins’ order requires all people 10 years or older to wear a face covering when in a public place “where it is difficult to keep six feet away from other people or working in areas that involve close proximity with other coworkers.” Under the order, face coverings are not required:
- When exercising outside or engaging in physical activity outside
- While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
- When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety, or security risk
- While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment
- While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, for example, banks
- When consuming food or drink.
Significantly, while the order makes a business’s failure to implement a face-covering policy punishable by a $500 fine, the order expressly provides that “no civil or criminal penalty will be imposed on individuals for failure to wear a face covering.”
The order provides that it will remain in effect through August 4, 2020 unless earlier rescinded, superseded, or amended.
Jackson Walker’s COVID-19 Task Force stands ready to assist any commercial entity with development of the Health and Safety Policy required by Dallas County’s order and has developed a model notice based on the minimum requirements of the order. For further information about how this order may affect your business, to discuss developing a comprehensive health and safety plan, or for other Coronavirus-related assistance, please contact Brad Nitschke, Gary Fowler, or any member of Jackson Walker’s Labor & Employment group.
Please note: This article and any resources presented on the JW Coronavirus Insights & Resources site are for informational purposes only, do not constitute legal or medical advice, and are not a substitute for legal advice from qualified counsel. The laws of other states and nations may be entirely different from what is described. Your use of these materials does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Jackson Walker. The facts and results of each case will vary, and no particular result can be guaranteed.