The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday blocked mask mandates imposed by two of the stateâ€™s most populous counties, which defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning the requirements.
The orders in Dallas and Bexar counties were issued after a lower court ruled last week in favor of local officials and as Covid-19 cases surge in areas like Dallas.
The state attorney generalâ€™s office said in a statement Sunday that the orders, which are temporary pending a court hearing, should â€œserve as a reminderâ€ to all school districts and local officials that the governorâ€™s order â€œstands.â€
â€œLocal mask mandates are illegal,â€ the statement said.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the countyâ€™s chief executive, who issued the mask mandate, said he intends to win the court hearing. â€œWe wonâ€™t stop working with parents, doctors, schools, business + others,â€ he tweeted.
Officials in San Antonio, in Bexar County, released a similar statement Sunday and said mask mandates for schools and city buildings will remain in effect as officials defend the mandate in court Monday.
Health authorities and university researchers have said masks are an effective way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Abbott has argued that his executive order prohibiting mandates allows Texans to rely on â€œpersonal responsibility rather than government mandates.â€