Bexar County judge grants request in lawsuit over mask mandate ban

A Bexar County judge has granted a temporary restraining order for the city of San Antonio and Bexar County against Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates in schools.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg shared the news via Twitter, saying that the San Antonio Bexar County Health Authority has now issued a directive requiring masks in all public K-12 schools in Bexar County.

Earlier today, the city and county filed a lawsuit challenging Abbott’s authority to suspend state laws that give local officials the needed authority to cope with an emergency and requesting the temporary restraining order to prevent enforcement of GA-38.

In the lawsuit, the city and county allege that GA-38 "exceeds the Governor's authority to suspend laws under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 and that Executive Order 38's prohibition on local governments' adoption of mask mandates is therefore invalid."

According to the city of San Antonio, the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 law gives mayors, county judges and some public health officials the authority to enact emergency measures during a public health crisis.

GA-38 combines several of Abbott's existing COVID-19 executive orders into one with the goal of providing "clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State's continued fight against COVID-19."

The order also addressed what local government entities and officials can do as well:

  • Local government cannot impose any conflicting or inconsistent limitation of business activities or legal proceedings, or face a fine of up to $1,000
  • No governmental official or entity can require wearing masks, except for hospitals, state-sponsored living centers, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department and any county and municipal jails enacting appropriate policies
  • Jail time is not allowed as a penalty for violating the executive order and any local orders allowing for jail time as a penalty for violating a COVID-19-related order is superseded by Abbott's executive order

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