Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to sue Austin city officials Wednesday over a local mask mandate that goes against Gov. Greg Abbot’s order lifting mask mandates.
Paxton threatened Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Democratic Mayor Steve Adler over local orders requiring people to wear face coverings outside their homes in Austin, Texas, according to a statement. Abbott issued an executive order lifting mask requirements for the entire state starting March 10.
“The decision to require masks or otherwise impose COVID-19-related operating limits is expressly reserved to private businesses on their own premises,” Paxton said in the statement. “It does not rest with jurisdictions like the City of Austin or Travis County or their local health authorities. Nor do they have the authority to threaten fines for non-compliance.”
Paxton gave Adler and Brown until 6:00 p.m. on March 10 to lift the local ordinances around mask mandates to comply with Abbott’s executive order, according to the statement. “Otherwise, on behalf of the State of Texas, I will sue you,” Paxton said in a statement.
“We have already taken you to court under similar circumstances. You lost. If you continue to flout the law in this manner, we’ll take you to court again and you will lose again,” Paxton said in a statement.
Gov. Abbott’s executive order also allows businesses to open at full capacity with no COVID-19 related restrictions, preventing local officials from implementing ordinances that contradict the order without meeting certain Department of State Health Services guidelines, according to Paxton.
Paxton, Alder and Brown did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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