After CDC revises COVID-19 recommendations, Dallas County narrows its mask mandate
By Sneha Dey, The Texas Tribune
“After CDC revises COVID-19 recommendations, Dallas County narrows its mask mandate” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mark a new stage of the pandemic by loosening masking guidelines, Dallas County has quickly scaled back its mask mandate.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins revised guidelines Friday, no longer requiring masks in public settings, except in jails, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and health care settings. Immunocompromised residents are still strongly encouraged to continue to wear masks in all indoor settings.
The CDC announced earlier on Friday a new system for monitoring the virus, which designates individual counties as being at low, medium, or high risk of residents contracting COVID-19. Counties in Texas collectively represent all three categories. But statewide, COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are plummeting.
For residents of low-risk counties, there is no recommendation for masking. And in medium-risk counties, people who are immunocompromised should talk to their doctor about continuing to wear a mask. The CDC is revising their universal mask mandates for schools, and only recommending districts require masks in high-risk settings.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the new system reflects a belief that the country has entered a different phase of the pandemic. Communities now have more tools to protect themselves from the virus, including an increased access to vaccines, testing, and high-quality masks.
A federal mandate still requires Texans to wear face coverings on buses, trains and planes, though the order is set to expire on March 18. Texas Attorney Ken Paxton and U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Irving, has sued the CDC over that mandate.
Throughout the pandemic, political battles have raged over mask mandates in the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has waged legal fights with the Biden administration and with cities, counties and school districts over bids to require masks.
Earlier this week, Travis County returned to Stage 4, a less restrictive tier of COVID-19 guidelines. Waco Independent School District also lifted its mask mandate Thursday.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/25/covid-mask-mandates-texas-cdc-guidance/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.