Another win for Texas!
The Texas Supreme Court blocked this week blocked local counties from imposing mask mandates in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order banning such mandates.
The Republican governor has come out strongly against the forced requirement to wear masks amid the pandemic, arguing in favor of voluntary masking. The high court issued a stay order in the legal battle in Dallas and Bexar counties after a lower court ruled last week in favor of local officials.
The Texas Attorney General’s office took to Twitter to announce the decision:
Today, SCOTEX has ordered Dallas Co and Dallas ISD to follow Exec. Order GA-38. Local mask mandates are illegal under GA-38.
Let this ruling serve as a reminder to all ISDs and Local officials that the Governor’s order stands.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) August 15, 2021
The high court’s decision temporarily blocks the mask mandates in Dallas and Bexar counties until the cases can be heard at a later date. The hearing for the Dallas County mask mandate is slated for Aug. 24, according to FOX 4.
The man responsible for the Dallas mask mandates, County Judge Clay Jenkins, slammed the decision and vowed to continue fighting the legal battle under mandates are imposed in the state of Texas:
Tex Supreme Court narrowly ruled, staying only the TRO against Gov. Abbott but allowing the temporary injunction hearing to go forward. We won’t stop working with parents,doctors,schools, business + others to protect you and intend to win that hearing. https://t.co/sQ2Lryo22f
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) August 15, 2021
Before Jenkins’s order, the Dallas Independent School District announced on Aug. 9 that all students and staff must wear masks on district property. Administrators cited the county’s “level red” status indicating the significant spread of COVID-19 in their decision to require masking “temporarily,” beginning Tuesday — a move now recommended by the CDC.
The City of San Antonio, in Bexar County, released a statement in response to the Sunday ruling, declaring that its school mask mandate for K-12 will remain in effect as officials defend the mandate in court on Monday.
This is the City of San Antonio's statement on the Texas Supreme Court Ruling Regarding COVID-19 Prevention Measures pic.twitter.com/C2899uj1jc
— City of San Antonio 💪+💉= 💯 (@COSAGOV) August 16, 2021
Other states such as Florida have attempted to block local municipalities from enforcing mask mandates, with Gov. Ron DeSantis issuing an executive order blocking the enforcement of compulsory mask use. Meanwhile, other states such as Hawaii have reverted to social gathering restrictions due to the rapid rise in so-called delta cases.
In response to the high court’s ruling, Abbott released this statement:
“The Texas Supreme Court imposes a temporary halt to lower court decisions that overruled the State ban on mask mandates,” adding that “the ban doesn’t prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.”
School districts in Harris and Tarrant counties have also dismissed the governor’s order and have gone ahead with mask mandates.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney