The Austin Statesman reports:
The Texas Supreme Court stepped in Sunday evening to block lower-court orders that had allowed Dallas and San Antonio to impose mask mandates in defiance of an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott.
The action voided temporary restraining orders, issued by separate District Court judges and upheld Friday by two intermediate appellate courts, that halted enforcement of Abbott’s July 29 edict that prohibited local officials from requiring face masks to be worn indoors.
However, a growing number of local jurisdictions — including Austin, Travis County and numerous area school districts — have implemented mask mandates despite Abbott’s order as the highly contagious delta variant has produced a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, overrunning intensive care units in adult and children’s hospitals across Texas.
The Texas Tribune reports:
In a petition for a writ of mandamus to the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office said the Texas Disaster Act of 1975 gives the governor power to act as the “‘commander in chief’ of the state’s response to a disaster. Attorneys representing cities and counties that have sued Abbott over his executive order have argued that his orders should not supersede local orders.
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
BREAKING: The Texas Supreme Court imposes a temporary halt to lower court decisions that overruled the State ban on mask mandates.
The ban doesn’t prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.https://t.co/QeVipZMPWH
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 15, 2021