Texas Supreme Court blocks mask mandates issued in San Antonio, Dallas

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Supreme Court granted stay orders Sunday, temporarily blocking mask mandates issued by local leaders in San Antonio and Dallas earlier this week.

The Office of the Texas Attorney General released a statement on Twitter — “Let this ruling serve as a reminder to all ISDs and Local officials that the Governor’s order stands.”

Still, Dallas ISD said later Sunday masks will be required for all while on district property as students prepare to go back to campuses Monday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote on Twitter after the ruling was announced — “The ban doesn’t prohibit using masks. Anyone who wants to wear a mask can do so, including in schools.”

Reported by The Texas Tribune earlier this week, the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio tossed out Abbott’s appeal to nix an order by the local health authority in Bexar County mandating mask-wearing in local public schools. Abbott sought to overturn a lower court ruling that allowed the local mandate.

Minutes later, the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas made an identical ruling in Abbott’s challenge to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ order mandating masks in public schools, universities and businesses — upholding the mandate there.

On Sunday night, Jenkins said on Twitter the decision didn’t stop the face mask order. He wrote — “The Tex Supreme Court did not strike down my face mask order. Rather they removed the stay on the GA 38. Unless I receive a ruling requiring otherwise, I will amend my order to remove the possibility of fines on non-compliant businesses but otherwise leave the order in effect.”

On Friday, Travis County District Court Judge Jan Soifer granted a temporary restraining order allowing for local mask mandates to be enforced.

Lawyers told KXAN this temporary restraining order is valid for 10 days as they seek a longer injunction. The hearing for that will be in late August.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler responded to the Supreme Court ruling Sunday as well, saying it doesn’t rule against orders in place in the Austin Independent School District or for Austin-Travis County — which at the time of this report, masks are required.

“While we await a final decision, we believe local rules are the rules,” wrote Adler on Twitter. “Regardless of what eventually happens in the courts, if you’re a parent, please keep fighting to have everyone in schools masked. We stand with you.”

A hearing on a temporary injunction in the Bexar County case, scheduled Monday, is not affected, nor is a hearing on a temporary injunction in the Dallas County case set Aug. 24, according to a Texas Supreme Court notice.

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