Texas judge issues mask mandate, going against Abbott order

© Getty Images Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

A Texas judge issued a mask mandate Thursday, conflicting with an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on Twitter that the order requires masks to be worn in school and childcare centers.

Hidalgo said with pediatric cases of COVID-19 rising in Texas, the county had “no choice.”

“Pediatric COVID19 cases are at all-time highs in Texas, and most schools haven’t even started yet. We have no choice,” she wrote.

NEW: Our Harris County Local Health Authority has issued a Health Order requiring masks in schools and childcare centers.

Pediatric COVID19 cases are at all- time highs in Texas, and most schools haven’t even started yet.

We have no choice.

– Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) August 12, 2021

According to Harris County Public Health, the order applies to all public and non-religious private schools, and applies to students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. It also pertains to licensed chid care centers offering care for the 2021-22 school year.

Harris County, the nation’s third largest by population and which covers Houston, is the latest to defy Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates as local authorities seek to control the spread of COVID-19 with the school year quickly approaching.

Dallas County reinstated its indoor mask mandate for businesses, schools and county buildings on Wednesday evening. Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) have asked a court to block that mandate.

The Hill has reached out to Abbott and Paxton’s offices for comment on the Harris County mandate.

Bexar County and the City of San Antonio also issued mask mandates for schools and buildings owned by the city and county earlier this week after successfully persuading a court to grant a temporary restraining order to prevent Abbott’s executive order from being enforced.

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