Story at a glance
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will fight against state officials and school districts in his state who defy his ban on mask mandates.
- “No governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” Abbott said in a statement.
- “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates,” Abbott added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) committed Wednesday to continuing his battle against state officials and school districts in his state who choose to defy his ban on mask mandates.
“No governmental entity can require or mandate the wearing of masks,” Abbott said in a statement. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates. The State of Texas will continue to vigorously fight the temporary restraining order to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans.”
Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton responded quickly to Judge Clay Jenkins after Jenkins ordered that masks be worn in Dallas schools, county buildings and businesses. Jenkins's action was made possible by a Dallas district judge’s temporary restraining order on the enforcement of the mask ban.
“Your personal freedom is important to me and to you, but your personal freedom doesn’t come to harming your neighbors,” Jenkins said, per The Dallas Morning News. “I’m hopeful that we will turn the tide somewhat with these orders.”
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"This is all of us, we are all team public health, and the enemy is the virus. And right now the enemy is winning," Jenkins added while signing the order, according to WFAA.
Yet Abbott vowed in a Twitter post Wednesday to challenge any entity that subverted his July 29 executive action.
“Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy GA-38—which prohibits gov't entities from mandating masks—will be taken to court,” Abbott wrote. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility—not government mandates.”
A slew of school districts followed in Dallas’s footsteps, issuing their own mask mandates, while Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, will require the face coverings in government buildings and schools, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation last week that schools exercise universal mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status. Nearly 54 percent of eligible residents in Texas are fully vaccinated, data shows. The Lone Star State reported more than 21,000 new cases and 108 deaths in the past day, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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