EP Mask Mandate In Effect After Court Grants Restraining Order
A court has granted a temporary restraining order against Texas Governor Greg Abbott, allowing local authorities to issue a mask mandate which went into effect last night at midnight.
In March, Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate and most recently issued an executive order banning local governments and school districts from requiring facial coverings, prompting San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Austin school districts to sue. Meanwhile, on Monday, El Paso City Council voted 5 to 3 to file a lawsuit against Texas Governor Greg Abbott that would support local protective measures.
On Tuesday, the city's news release stated that Judge Ruben Morales in the County Court at Law #7 granted the City of El Paso’s petition, issuing a Temporary Restraining Order finding that GA-38 exceeds the Governor’s authority under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975.
Now that the Delta variant is present in El Paso, local health officials are taking action to avoid repeating last year's upsurge of COVID-19 cases. Last October, the situation was so dire that the City of El Paso and health officials converted the Convention Center into a temporary hospital requiring the State of Texas to provide secondary medical equipment units and staff to help with the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients in our city.
Almost a year later, we are still not in the clear, and City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza has officially issued a countywide mask mandate for all indoor facilities, which would include the following:
- All individuals over the age of 2-years old are required to wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth while in indoor spaces.
- Parents and guardians of children over the age of two (2) and under 10-years old shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.
- A face covering is not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, has a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face-covering, or is actively exercising indoors and not within 6 feet of any other individual, not from the same household.
- A person is not required to wear a face-covering while the person is consuming food or drink.
Health officials remind El Pasoans that wearing a face-covering is not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccination. As we’ve learned, maintaining 6-feet social distancing and handwashing and getting vaccinated remains essential steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
For complete details on the new Local Health Authority Order and information on vaccination locations, visit EPSTRONG.ORG.