Judge Lets Texas County Temporarily Mandate Masks, Defying Governor’s Order

Judge Lets Texas County Temporarily Mandate Masks, Defying Governor’s Order
A man wears a Texas mask in Austin, Texas, on March 3, 2021. (Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

A judge in Texas on Friday granted Harris County’s request for a temporary restraining order to block Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that bans mask mandates, thereby allowing the county to temporarily issue mask mandates in public schools.

Abbott’s order bans government entities such as county, city, school district, or public health authorities from requiring people to wear face masks and get vaccinated. It follows a similar order Abbott issued in May, which came just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that vaccinated people can stop wearing masks.
Judge Jan Soifer of the 345th Civil District Court in Travis County granted the request after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Thursday announced a mask mandate for all county schools and daycares.
It also comes a day after the county’s attorney, Christian D. Menefee, filed a lawsuit against Abbott’s order. The lawsuit was filed some hours before Hidalgo announced the mask mandate.
In a statement Friday, Menefee said that Harris County “fought alongside school districts across the state” over the matter.
“While this decision is temporary, it’s a victory for residents in Harris County who are concerned about this public health crisis,” Menefee said in a separate statement on Friday, reported the Houston Chronicle. “We need every tool at our disposal to stop the spread of COVID-19, including masks and other measures that are proven to slow the spread.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Abbott’s office for comment.

Menefee in a statement on Thursday accused Abbott of having “repeatedly misused his authority under Texas disaster laws.” He said that Abbott’s order “bans any meaningful action” to address the spread of the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in the region.
Other local counties have also sued Abbott, including Dallas and Bexar counties, which have seen judges rule in their favor to go ahead with their local mask mandates.
Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday issued a joint statement saying, “Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy the order will be taken to court.”

“The Texas Disaster Act clearly states that the Governor has the power to guide the state through emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” they also said.

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