The mayors of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Plano, and Grand Prairie each signed onto the letter, stating, “We are writing you for the authority to set rules and regulations on the use of face coverings in each of our cities.”
On Friday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff made an appeal of his own asking Abbott to allow localities to reinstitute mask orders.
Arguing against a “one-size-fits-all” approach, the group thinks local officials should be trusted “to make informed choices about health policy.”
However, in the next paragraph, the mayors indicate their approval of a statewide facial covering mandate — and the local authority to do so should a statewide mandate not be under consideration by the governor.
“If you do not have plans to mandate face coverings statewide, we ask that you restore the ability for local authorities to enforce the wearing of face coverings in public venues where physical distancing cannot be practiced.”
Since reopening, and the massive protests which followed, Texas has seen some increase in raw case numbers. As of yesterday, its positive test rate is just under six percent. Hospitalizations have also slightly increased, but the state’s bed capacity is nowhere near overwhelmed.
Before Abbott’s reneging of the mask authority, his order allowed punishment for violations of up to a $1,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail. It was after some localities began strictly enforcing their local facial covering mandates that Abbott declared them unenforceable.
Texas has methodically reopened its economy since the beginning of May after months of mandated closures and stay-home orders, which decimated the economy and left millions of Texans out of work.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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 quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.