Mask mandate needed
Denton County must enact a mask mandate in order to protect the safety of its residents and to combat the spread of the coronavirus. While officials encourage the use of masks, most are opposed to a mandate requiring mask wearing in public spaces. Rising numbers suggest that current measures are insufficient: Denton County continues to report new COVID-19 cases, with numbers over the past week spiking and the weekly positivity rate increasing.
Wearing masks helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and anecdotal evidence support this. Officials, including Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson, cite available hospital capacity as a rationale for not enacting an ordinance. However, such an approach is reactive, not proactive, postponing effective interventions until after a crisis occurs rather than preventing it.
Opponents of an ordinance may argue that mandating masks infringes on their rights, and such a view may be what is preventing some officials from favoring a mandate. However, not wearing a mask is akin to other forms of criminal negligence and reckless endangerment, in which a person infringes on the rights of other individuals because their actions put others’ safety at risk.
By mandating that residents wear masks in public spaces, county elected officials will uphold their obligation to protect the welfare of residents and will help slow the spread of COVID-19.