A Texas judge has ruled that Bexar County can keep its mask mandate in place, despite a ruling from the state supreme court and Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
The move of approval from State District Judge Antonia Arteaga for mask requirements in schools came one day after the Texas Supreme Court upheld Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates.
'Punch to the stomach': San Antonio's school mask mandate remains in place for now https://t.co/wRshoWySL7
— mySA (@mySA) August 16, 2021
“My thoughts continue to be with those children in our schools that don’t have access to the vaccine, but must attend school, coupled with the dire situation right here in Bexar County hospitals, and where we currently find ourselves,” Arteaga said in regard to the ruling, as reported by the Texas Tribune.
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
The implemented mask mandate also applies to city and county offices and buildings in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg seemed to be pleased with the judge’s ruling, recognizing that the “battle is not over” and vowing to continue the fight to mask school children and residents in the county, despite vaccination status.
“We do realize that the battle is not over,” Nirenberg told My San Antonio. “We expect the state to appeal the judge’s decision, and we’ll be there to defend our school children every step of the way.”
Similarly, the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) announced Monday it will continue to defy the Texas Supreme Court ruling and Abbott’s order and keep its mask mandate, a move heavily supported by President Joe Biden, who called the school district’s superintendent to voice support.
In May, Abbott announced he would be banning local governments from imposing mask mandates, leaving those who defy his order to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
The executive order, which took effect on May 21, prohibits localities — including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from mandating that individuals wear a mask.
According to the governor’s office, exceptions include “state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.”