Judge Grants Harris County Restraining Order Against Gov. Abbott’s Mask Mandate Ban

The order comes one day after Harris County filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning vaccine and mask mandates.


Dr. Jeffrey Kahn of Children’s Health in Dallas says wearing a mask is a necessary safety precaution while at school during the pandemic.

A Travis County judge on Friday granted Harris County a temporary retraining order against parts of Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, according to County Attorney Christian Menefee.

MORE | As COVID Cases Surge Again In Texas, State And Local Leaders Locked In Battle Over Masks

In a statement, Menefee wrote that the order would allow Harris County officials to implement their own mask mandate without fear of retribution from the state.

"While this decision is temporary, it's a victory for residents in Harris County who are concerned about this public health crisis,” the statement read. “We need every tool at our disposal to stop the spread of COVID-19, including masks and other measures that are proven to slow the spread.”

Menefee added that he expected State District Judge Jan Soifer to sign the order by Friday evening.

It comes one day after Harris County filed a lawsuit challenging Abbott's executive order, and after the county health department issued a mandatory mask mandate for county schools and child care centers.

Bexar, Dallas and Fort Bend counties have also joined the legal fight against executive order GA-38, with each county successfully obtaining their own temporary retraining order — allowing them to issue county-wide mandates. The state has since appealed the Dallas and San Antonio decisions, and the issue is expected to be settled in the Texas Supreme Court.

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Lucio Vasquez

Lucio Vasquez

Newscast Producer

Lucio Vasquez is a newscast producer at Houston Public Media, NPR’s affiliate station in Houston, Texas. Over the last two years, he's covered a wide range of topics, from politics and immigration to culture and the arts. Lately, Lucio has focused his reporting primarily on public safety and criminal justice...

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