Judge temporarily blocks Gov. Abbott's executive order against mask mandates for San Antonio schools

This is the first court loss for Gov. Abbott's ban of government-instituted COVID-19 mandates.
Governor of Texas Greg Abbott is seen in attendance during the UFC 265 event at Toyota Center on August 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott
Getty Images

A local Texas judge on Tuesday granted San Antonio’s and Bexar County's request for a temporary restraining order against Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order banning government mask mandates for schools.

The ruling by Bexar County Civil District Court Judge Toni Arteaga allows San Antonio and Bexar County officials to issue mask mandates for public schools, along with other guidance, such as quarantine protocol, for the time being, local ABC affiliate KSAT reported.

It is the first court loss for Abbott's executive order banning government-instituted COVID-19 mandates.

"We can get back to managing what is a very dangerous surge of this delta variant in schools and otherwise," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said after the ruling.

Renae Eze, press secretary for Abbott, responded, saying, "Governor Abbott's resolve to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans has not wavered.

“There have been dozens of legal challenges to the Governor's executive orders—all of which have been upheld in the end. We expect a similar outcome when the San Antonio trial court's decision is reviewed by the appellate courts."

Later Tuesday evening, the Bexar County Health Authority issued a health directive that included a school mask mandate, the outlet reported.

The health directive also stated:

  • "Unvaccinated individuals who are determined to be in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person shall quarantine for 14 days after their last contact with a person who has COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC."

  • "Fully vaccinated individuals should get tested three to five days after their exposure even if they don't have symptoms and wear a mask in indoor public spaces for 14 days. Fully vaccinated individuals need not quarantine."

Both Dallas and Austin school districts also defied Abbott's mask mandate ban.