Judge blocks Abbott’s order, clears way for El Paso mask mandate
EL PASO, Texas — A judge blocked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order forbidding mask mandates late Tuesday night, clearing the way for a new mask rule from El Paso’s City/County Health Authority to take effect at midnight.
County Court at Law Judge Ruben Morales signed a temporary restraining order after ruling that Abbott exceeded his authority under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975. The restraining order had been requested by the City of El Paso, which filed suit against Abbott earlier in the day.
With the court ruling, El Paso Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said his countywide indoor mask mandate would take effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. It requires the following:
- All individuals over the age of two (2), are to wear some form of face covering over their nose and mouth, while in indoor spaces.
- A face covering may include a variety of options.
- Parents and guardians of children over the age of two (2) and under the age of ten (10) 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.
- Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccination, for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and handwashing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.
A copy of the full Health Authority order signed by Ocaranza can be viewed below.
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