Texas local leaders challenge governor for mask mandates
Two court rulings on Tuesday paved the way for local leaders who oppose Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on mask warrants from at least temporarily requiring face coverings to help curb the Delta variant that results in an increase in cases in the state.
The first decision came in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio. Masks can now be required in public schools and other public buildings after a judge ruled in favor of officials who pursued the ban.
Masks will also be required for county and city employees, said Andy Segovia, the City of San Antonio district attorney. Bexar County Director General Judge Nelson W. Wolf said the decision was important because many students are too young to get vaccinated and “come back to school unprotected.”
The second decision was made by a Dallas County District Judge who found the ban improperly prevented local authorities from protecting residents in an emergency.
“The citizens of Dallas County will be irreparably injured” if local leaders cannot demand face covering and mask warrants to stop the transmission of Covid-19, judge Tonya Parker wrote in the ruling.
In light of the decision, Clay Jenkins, the county chief executive noted he planned to issue an emergency order for the county on Wednesday.
Texas recorded the second highest daily average of new coronavirus cases in the country on Monday, with 12,414, according to a New York Times database. This figure is about twice as high as at the end of July.
Texas hospitals are nearing capacity and some are bracing for an influx of patients. In Houston, Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital is at 100% capacity in its intensive care units, and 63% of those patients are Covid cases, CNN reported.
On Tuesday, a temporary mask mandate for students, staff and visitors to Dallas public schools went into effect.
Brendan Steinhauser, a Republican political consultant who lives in a Republican-leaning suburb of Austin, said the growing number of cases has led more people to wear masks.
“It’s clearly – it’s palpable,” he said of his neighbors’ mask-wearing attitude. “I noticed it and it was like ‘Whoa.'”