Texas judge rules county can keep mask mandate in place

A Texas judge ruled Monday that the Bexar County's mask mandate can stay in place, despite a Sunday Texas Supreme Court ruling that sided with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that prohibited such mandates.

A day after the Texas high court upheld Abbott's ban on mask mandates, State District Judge Antonia Arteaga approved the county's Aug. 10 public school mask requirement.

"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 regarding her ruling, according to the Texas Tribune.

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The mandate also applies to city and county offices and buildings in Bexar County, which includes San Antonio.

Arteaga's ruling is the latest in a series of legal challenges being brought against Abbott's July executive order prohibiting local entities from putting mask requirements in place.

While Abbott's representation argues he has the right to enforce the ban through the Texas Disaster Act, an attorney for San Antonio and Bexar County claimed they are justified in overriding Abbott's order under the Texas Health and Safety Code.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg reportedly celebrated the victory but anticipates further challenges.

"We do realize that the battle is not over," he 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."