June 25, 2020
The rate of new COVID-19 infections, and more importantly, the rate of hospitalizations, is increasing at an alarming rate. To address this public health emergency, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, with the support of every mayor in the county, has issued an Executive Order requiring all businesses in Tarrant County to require employees, customers and visitors to wear face masks. This Order goes into effect at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 26, 2020, and remains in effect until 6:00 a.m. on Monday, August 3, 2020. The dates of this Order may be amended at any time.
This Executive Order applies to all businesses within Tarrant County. The Order does not require citizens to wear masks at home or in outdoor spaces; however, people are strongly encouraged to wear face masks while out in public.
What does this mean for Meals On Wheels volunteers?
Effective Monday, June 29, 2020, all Meals On Wheels volunteers must wear masks while at distribution sites. This applies to site volunteers and meal-delivery volunteers. Over the past few days, we have received dozens of calls from clients and volunteers complaining that some volunteers are not wearing masks. With today’s Executive Order, everyone must wear a mask while in the distribution sites. Anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be asked to leave the facility. This is a serious matter and I am asking everyone to adhere to the Order. Remember, our clients are depending on us for a nutritious meal.
Speaking of our clients, please please please wear a face mask when you are delivering meals. Most of our clients are in a high-risk category, making them especially susceptible to infection. On Monday, June 29th, we will be distributing a face mask to every client. The individually-wrapped mask will be placed in the breakfast bag. This extra layer of protection will also help protect you during your interaction with our clients.
Comments from the President of the American Medical Association
Dr. Susan Bailey, President of the American Medical Association, and a Tarrant County resident, spoke at today’s press conference. She wanted to remind everyone that “back to business doesn’t mean business as normal.” We simply must change our behaviors if we are going to get this virus under control. She also wanted to address two scientifically-debunked rumors that are circulating regarding wearing mask. The idea that people who wear masks will suffer from oxygen deprivation or carbon dioxide poisoning is false. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims. She reminded everyone that healthcare workers routinely wear face masks all day long.
This is not a political decision.
As you are aware, the wearing of masks has become a political hot button. All of our elected officials have emphasized that this is not a political decision. All of our local elected and public health officials as well as local medical leaders unanimously support this Order. The decision was not made lightly and was based on scientific research.
What else can we do?
In this morning’s press conference, several leaders reiterated that we have three primary tools in our arsenal to fight COVID-19. They are:
- Good personal hygiene — washing or sanitizing your hands often throughout the day and especially before eating (and interacting with our clients).
- Social distancing — maintain a 6’ distance between yourself and others.
- Wearing face masks — paper and fabric face masks as well as bandanas have proven to stop the airborne particles that spread the virus. These particles are exhaled through the nose and mouth when we breathe. Masks are only effective if they cover your nose and mouth.
The Tarrant County Director of Public Health said people should also limit leisure trips outside the home. In other words, limit your exposure as much as possible.
I am sorry that we have had to take these measures, but we simply must comply with the County’s Executive Order. This morning, Governor Greg Abbott temporarily halted the state’s additional reopening phases. Hopefully these measures will help get the spread of the COVID-19 virus under control.
I know I say this in just about every email, but I want each of you to know how much I appreciate your service and commitment to our mission. I’m extremely proud of how our volunteers have responded to this public health emergency. Everything you do is a reflection of the compassion you have for the clients we serve. Thank you again and again and again!