After Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott announced he was lifting statewide COVID-19 safety restrictions starting Wednesday, the city of Austin announced they would continue to enforce a mask mandate.
“While hospitalizations in the Austin-area have continued to decline, there are indications that this rate is plateauing,” said Austin Mayor Steve Sadler. “The single most effective thing each of us can do to help ensure schools can continue to open to more students in-person and to continue opening businesses, is to wear masks.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a letter stating that local leaders had until 6 p.m. Wednesday to rescind mask mandates or business-operating restrictions, or else he would sue.
.@MayorAdler & @AndyBrownATX, you and local health authorities have until 6:00pm today to rescind any mask mandates or business-operating restrictions and come into full compliance with GA-34 ➡️ https://t.co/Bz5DQsw8IV
Otherwise, on behalf of the State of Texas, I will sue you. pic.twitter.com/IP9UpZPplh
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) March 10, 2021
A spokesperson for Mayor Adler’s office confirmed Thursday that a lawsuit has formally been filed and released this statement.
“[Travis County] Judge Brown and I will fight to defend and enforce our local health officials’ rules for as long as possible using all the power and tools available to us. We promised to be guided by the doctors, science and data as concerns the pandemic and we do everything we can to keep that promise.”
“Wearing masks is perhaps the most important thing we can do to slow the spread of the virus. We are not aware of any Texas court that has allowed State leadership to overrule the health protection rules of a local health authority.”
“Masks work! The attorney general is simply wrong. So again, #MaskUpATX.”