Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued the city of Austin for enforcing the local need for face covering, despite the state’s scrapping his mask mandate.
An executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott went into effect Wednesday, banning jurisdictions from imposing local mask mandates on residents as part of a broader effort to roll back pandemic-era restrictions and force Texas “100 percent.” “open up.
Private companies may still require customers to wear masks.
Paxton said on Thursday that he had ordered Austin, the state capital, and surrounding Travis County to abide by state law.
‘They chased me away. So, again, I’m dragging them to court, ”Paxton said in a Twitter post.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement that he and Andy Brown, Travis County Judge, “will fight to defend and enforce the rules of our local health officials for as long as possible using all available force and tools” .
Adler continued, “We are not aware of a Texas court that has allowed state leaders to override the health protection rules of a local health authority.”
The divide in Texas, the second most populous state, is one of many that has arisen as some governors relax restrictions faster than some cities and counties would like.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that the state would drop the requirement for domestic travelers to undergo mandatory quarantine upon entering the state next month.
This quickly drew criticism from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said he was “concerned about this” and that the densely populated city – one of the places hardest hit during the early days of the pandemic. – “was not consulted” about the movement.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order late Wednesday relinquishing fines imposed by local governments in the past year for pandemic-related crimes beyond any enforcement or Covid-19-related orders from the state.
Some counties have said they intend to continue enforcing local restrictions, such as mask requirements, even though there is no statewide mandate.
Last summer, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms after ordering a mask mandate for her city and reversing the capital’s reopening.
Kemp had refrained from issuing a statewide mask mandate and eventually dropped legal proceedings.