On June 19, Democrat County Judge Clay Jenkins of Dallas successfully passed a new mask mandate in Dallas County. He is now calling for all Texans to be forced to wear masks and for a statewide shutdown.
Jenkins reported in May that 223 in Dallas County had tragically died from the Chinese coronavirus. He recently reported that the toll now is 352. With reports of coronavirus cases rising, Jenkins called for a statewide mask mandate.
He is also calling for more mandates, including a statewide shelter-in-place order—turning the clock back to when most businesses were closed and people were restricted to their homes—but allowing businesses that allow people to either work remotely or within social distancing guidelines to stay open at 50 percent.
If there won’t be statewide orders, he wants local officials to have the power to issue their own.
But Dallas County is not tracking recoveries from the coronavirus, thus giving an incomplete picture of the situation. Last week, neighboring Tarrant County’s public health director revealed that deaths were “trending down” and recoveries far outpaced deaths.
Jenkins tried forcing masks on people in April but was stopped by Dallas Commissioners, led by John Wiley Price. Price also led the fight to stop Jenkins from extending shelter-in-place.
Jenkins passed his latest mandate—requiring businesses to force customers and employees to wear masks or face heavy fines—by flipping Commissioner Theresa Daniel, a longtime Price ally.
On local black-owned businesses, Price said, “I want him or her to make their own free-market decisions. And if they say that [they] want everybody to wear a mask, then they have that governance. They don’t need me.”
“I encourage folks to wear a mask. I also encourage them to eat their vegetables,” Republican Commissioner J.J. Koch added. “But I cannot put a guy with a gun out there to enforce either.”
Mandates are a pattern for Jenkins. Since the coronavirus situation began, he’s threatened that Texas National Guard troops would be coming to citizens’ doors, banned in-person worship, closed law offices, and threatened parents if children under 10 didn’t wear masks.
He also involved himself in punishing hair salon owner Shelley Luther for reopening her business during the shutdown.
Other local elected Democrats have apparently been following his lead on issues ranging from mandating masks to contact tracing.
Texans concerned about this proposed Democrat mandate may contact their state representative and state senator.
This article has been updated since publication.