Dallas County

Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against Abbott's Ban on Mask Mandates

"Immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result" if Jenkins cannot mandate mitigation measures against COVID-19, the judge wrote

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A judge ruled in favor Tuesday of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins after he filed a temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott's mask mandate ban.

Abbott's executive order that prohibits mask mandates is not a "necessary action to combat the pandemic," a Dallas County district judge ruled.

The ruling allows a temporary restraining order filed by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to be upheld.

Jenkins announced the restraining order Monday as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to surge across the county and North Texas.

Abbott issued an executive order in late July consolidating previous orders, including a prohibition on mask mandates, COVID-19-related business restrictions and vaccination requirements.

Jenkins' order came after Dallas ISD said it would require masks in spite of Abbott's executive order on Monday. Some other major Texas school districts, including Fort Worth ISD, followed suit on Tuesday.

Tuesday, Texas exceeded 10,000 patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, the highest such number since early February.

In her ruling, 116th Civil District Court Judge Tonya Parker wrote, "immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result" if Jenkins cannot mandate mitigation measures against COVID-19.

She noted as part of Jenkins' role as county judge, he leads the government in providing safety protection for all citizens.

As Jenkins awaited the decision, he told NBC5 he would take swift action if permitted.

"We’ll work quickly with schools and business leaders and health professionals and others to get their feedback and get in place reasonable mask requirements that will keep our kids and the rest of us safe," said Jenkins.

Following the decision, he tweeted that he'd issue an executive order Wednesday.

Abbott issued new action items Monday, which included asking out-of-state healthcare workers to assist with Texas' COVID-19 surge and requesting hospitals voluntarily postpone elective surgeries.

Those actions were "inconsistent with a refusal to permit local governmental authorities to implement reasonable mitigation measures," Parker wrote.

The temporary restraining order expires Aug. 24.

A district court judge in Bexar County made a similar ruling earlier Tuesday, allowing San Antonio and Bexar County officials to mandate masks in public schools and city and county owned facilities.

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