EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A mask mandate in El Paso was lifted on Thursday after a court order was issued in the Texas 8th Court of Appeals.
The court denied the city of El Paso’s petition for emergency relief, which petitioned to allow the continuance of a mask mandate inside public facilities including school district properties. The case will continue as the court considers the Texas Attorney General’s Office on why El Paso cannot implement a mask mandate.
Hector Ocaranza, the El Paso Health Authority, called on residents to continue using masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“El Paso has been doing a phenomenal job at working to protect our community from experiencing another alarming COVID-19 spike as seen in other parts of Texas. Our success is due in large part to our multi-pronged approach to battling COVID-19 by providing free vaccines and testing, advocating the use of face covers, and practicing health and safety protocols,” Ocaranza said.
The decision aligns with one made by the Texas Supreme Court on Aug. 26, saying the city of San Antonio and Bexar County could not continue their mask mandates under Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order.
The governor’s order says local governments and school districts cannot implement mask mandates, which were used to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We continue reporting new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, which signifies that this pandemic is clearly not over,” Ocaranza said. “El Paso is indeed a strong and resilient community that values the health and wellness of our family, friends and neighbors, which is why we urge everyone to get fully vaccinated, wash your hands, watch your distance and continue wearing your face mask when you are indoors or in crowded spaces.”
Throughout the state, cities and school districts have implemented various forms of indoor mask mandates in defiance of the executive order, which Abbott and the Texas Attorney General’s Office have opposed since mid-August.