After discussion at a Special Called City Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 16, the Coppell City Council mandated that masks be worn by all visitors to all indoor City of Coppell facilities, effective Friday, March 19.
The health and safety of the community and staff remains the City’s highest priority. Residents are strongly encouraged to follow CDC recommendations, including wearing a mask in all public spaces, keeping a six-foot distance from others, and washing hands regularly. Patrons will also be asked to submit to a temperature check upon entry to a City facility. City of Coppell employees are also required to continue wearing masks.
“The primary function of the City is to provide public safety for all of its residents,” said Councilmember Mark Hill. “I believe it’s imperative that we enforce a mask mandate for our public buildings… There is still a large portion of our population that is at risk, and I think we have to take every measure to make sure that we don’t expose them to that risk.”
Earlier in the month, the City of Coppell announced changes to facility hours and operations as a result of Governor Abbott's GA-34 (PDF). Aside from now requiring that masks be worn at all times while in City facilities, the previously announced service level adjustments remain unchanged.
City services are available virtually, and multiple options are available for residents to contact the City of Coppell. Those with City business are encouraged to visit coppelltx.gov or call the City’s main line at 972-462-0022.
“I do hear that the City is different than businesses because people have to come to the City to do business,” said Councilmember Gary Roden. “Frankly that’s not true. Anything that you can do here in this building, you can do online of via the phone.”
Protective Measures Taken at City Facilities
Stringent cleaning procedures remain in place at city facilities, and many facilities have been retrofitted with protective barriers to decrease direct contact. Floor markers have been placed at many facilities to facilitate social distancing. Further, the City has invested in UV air purification technology at Town Center, Coppell Arts Center, and the Service Center.
Visit coppelltx.gov/coronavirus for the latest information about facility operations and community impacts. For more information about COVID-19, precautionary actions you can take or what to do if you fall ill, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the City requiring that masks be worn on city property?
The health and safety of the community and staff remains the City’s highest priority. The City continues to follow Texas Department of Health and Human Services and CDC recommendations, including the use of face coverings in public spaces. All City of Coppell staff will continue to wear masks and masks are available to anyone needing one.
Are masks required on trails, in parks, outdoor pavilions, and other outdoor spaces?
While the City encourages patrons to wear a mask and be respectful of other park or trail users, it is not required that masks be worn while outdoors, including in park pavilions.
How is the City able to require masks in City facilities? / Doesn’t Governor Abbot’s Executive Order say that masks aren’t required?
GA-34 does eliminate the statewide facial covering mandate. However, nothing in the Governor’s order prohibits businesses or “other establishments” (including government entities) from requiring employees or customers to wear a facial covering, including a mask. According to the City Attorney, the Governor’s order does not remove the City’s ability to set operational policies and procedures in its facilities, parks, buildings and grounds.
How will this measure be enforced?
If a patron enters a City facility without a face covering, staff will request that the patron put on a mask. In the event that mask mandate is not followed following this request, the customer will be encouraged to be respectful of staff and other patrons and use a remote option to receive service, such as online or over the phone.
Why aren’t all facilities open at pre-pandemic hours and capacity? / Why aren’t all suspended amenities (like rentals and access to meeting spaces) being offered yet?
In some instances, the City is currently unable to clean all spaces to our high standards, and these spaces will remain closed until we can do so. In other instances, the City must reorganize staff schedules to accommodate changing hours and operations, and a grace period is needed for the City to schedule shifts and bring staff in to ensure that high quality services are offered.
Why didn’t the City Council vote on whether or not to reinstate the mask mandate in City facilities?
At the special called work session on March 16, the City Council discussed a revision to a policy that would require that masks be worn in City facilities. Per the City’s Home Rule Charter, Council has the authority to direct the City Manager or a designee to enact policy changes without taking a vote. Council reached consensus on the issue and provided City staff with policy direction. The mandate was not passed via ordinance or a resolution.
Why were only pro-mask mandate written comments read into the record at the special called meeting?
All written comments that were submitted for the Citizens’ Appearance portion of the meeting were read into the record. Those wishing to speak during Citizens' Appearance should email the City Secretary's Office by 2 pm the day of the meeting or use the sign-up sheet in front of Council Chambers at Town Center.
Was the decision to mandate masks in City facilities made by City Council in a closed session?
No, the Coppell City Council held a special called public work session to discuss the potential of a mask mandate. During this meeting, Council came to consensus and directed City staff to enact the policy change to require masks in City facilities. View the recording of the meeting.