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COVID-19

Austin-Travis County Mask Order Will Stay In Effect For At Least Two More Weeks

People wear masks around the UT Austin campus on Oct. 1, 2020.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
People wear masks around the UT Austin campus on Oct. 1, 2020.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's effort to get Austin-Travis County's mask rules blocked in court fell short on Friday.

State District Judge Lora Livingston turned down Paxton's request to put an immediate stop to the local mask mandate. The ruling allows the order from Austin Public Health requiring mask-wearing in public places and businesses to continue being enforced.

On Wednesday, Paxton threatened to sue Austin and Travis County leaders if their orders were not lifted by 6 p.m. that day. He pointed to the executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott lifting his mask mandate and business occupancy limits statewide. The city and county orders were not lifted and Paxton filed suit the following day.

Livingston has set a trial on the matter for two weeks from now – on March 26 – to give both sides time to prepare. That effectively keeps the local orders in effect, including during next week's spring break for many area school districts.

"We continue to rely on the Health Authority and other medical experts in the community, who are asking people to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, and maintain hand hygiene," the City of Austin said in a statement Friday. "This is a public health decision. Our City employees have been working for a full year on COVID-19 emergency measures and we do not want to backslide into yet another surge."

Got a tip? Email Trey Shaar at tshaar@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.

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