On Wednesday the Attorney General for Texas, Ken Paxton, threatened to take Austin and Travis County to court because local leaders continued to require masks be worn in all public places despite Gov Greg Abbott lifting the statewide mask mandate. In terminating the mask mandate, Abbott said that it doesn’t means people should not wear masks, but rather, people should make up their own minds on what’s best for themselves. The federal government requires everyone on federal property and on airplanes to still wear a mask.
Austin’s leaders say Abbotts orders are “simply wrong” and vowed to fight Paxton and Abbott in court. Austin Mayor Steve Adler said, “We will fight Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton’s assault.” Dr. Mark Escott from the Austin-Travis County Health Authority said the order to wear masks in Austin will remain in effect until April 15. “Wearing a face covering is one of the easiest ways of slowing the transmission of disease in our community” said Escott.
In Dallas and Houston, face masks are also still required, but only on city property and in city schools, a policy that is significantly different than in Austin. “More and more people are getting vaccinated, especially those most at risk to get real sick and essential workers, it’s time we start getting back to our lives again. I don’t mind still wearing a mask in certain situations like around elderly peopler those who are vulnerable, but removing the mandate is a positive step towards getting back to normal again” said Cindy Coleman of Waco.