Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff appealed to Governor Greg Abbott on Friday to allow the reinstitution of mandatory mask orders at the local level.
Many localities required facial coverings in public with penalties attached at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. But after Governor Abbott clarified that individuals could not be punished for failing to wear masks, those local orders were rendered null and void.
In the letter to Abbott, Wolff stated, “When you began to lift the restrictions…I was supportive. However, I did not agree with your decision to limit the authority of local jurisdictions to impose a penalty on individuals who failed to wear a face covering in instances where proper social distancing could not be maintained.”
Taking issue with the governor’s suggestion, rather than requirement, that individuals wear masks in public, Wolff continued, “As a result, we see fewer and fewer people wearing face coverings and rates of infection are increasing.”
Wolff then added that as of today, Bexar County has 172 new COVID-19 cases and 138 new COVID-19 patients. According to Wolff, this is the highest daily hospitalization number Bexar has seen.
In Texas, the seven-day rolling average of positive cases and tests has been increasing since mid-May.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of deaths has been decreasing since mid-May.
Citing Director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Dr. Dawn Emerick’s statement that a “second wave” of increasing rates is on their doorstep, Wolff stated localities need “some mandatory health requirements.”
“The most important of these is the requirement to wear a facial covering within six feet of another person,” said Wolff.
He then requested the governor issue a new executive order to allow the possibility of a face covering mandate.
Texas entered Phase III of reopening on June 3.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.