Houston Mayor Orders City Employees to Wear Masks Regardless of Vaccination Status

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's order goes into effect Aug. 4

Employees for the City of Houston, regardless of their vaccination status, will be back under a mask mandate Wednesday while indoors, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office.

Turner said in a memo sent to city employees Friday that mandatory masking is due to a "recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases in our community and in our workplace linked to the new delta variant."

"It is so very important that we remain vigilant in doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Turner wrote.

The Houston mayor's mandate is the latest to be issued apparently in clear defiance of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order issued last week that forbids any governmental jurisdiction in the state from mandating masking.

Last week, Judge Maricela Moore, judge of the 162nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County, ordered that all people who enter the George Allen Courthouse, the Frank Crowley Courthouse, and the Henry Wade Building wear masks.

In the county order, Moore cited a Texas Supreme Court order that says the judiciary has authority to "take reasonable action s to avoid exposing court proceedings and participants to the threat of COVID-19."

On Tuesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, citing the same Texas Supreme Court order, said at the beginning of a meeting of the commissioner's court that he was requiring masks be worn due to the rising COVID-19 case numbers.

County Commissioner J.J. Koch refused to wear one and was escorted out of the meeting by a court bailiff. Koch attended the meeting virtually from his office.

So far, Abbott has not responded or commented on the mask mandates being imposed by local officials.

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