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March 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The government mask mandate is no more in Texas, and state Attorney General Ken Paxton is taking steps to make sure that localities don’t forget it.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott officially rescinded most of his previous emergency orders related to COVID-19, including the statewide mask mandate, and allowed businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity. His order also forbade judges from imposing penalties for wearing a face mask and limited the new restrictions that can be imposed at a local level.
The Epoch Times reports that the City of Austin and Travis County have announced they intend to continue with their mask mandates anyway, leading Paxton to write a letter warning that “the decision to require masks or otherwise impose COVID-19-related operating limits is expressly reserved to private businesses on their own premises. 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 them until 6PM on March 10 to “rescind any local mask mandates or business-operating restrictions, retract any related public statements, and come into full compliance with GA-34” or face a lawsuit. They did not, so Paxton announced he will be suing both jurisdictions:
I told Travis County & The City of Austin to comply with state mask law. They blew me off. So, once again, I’m dragging them to court.
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) March 11, 2021
In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams counseled against wearing masks, as did White House COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, claiming they were ineffective at blocking COVID. But the public later learned that health officials actually wanted to discourage the general public from buying masks to conserve the supply for health workers.
Despite the popular insistence that masking is essential outside one’s home, there remain reasons to doubt their effectiveness, such as the CDC’s September acknowledgement that masks cannot be counted on to keep out the coronavirus when spending 15 minutes or longer within six feet of someone, or a May 2020 study published by CDC’s peer-reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that “did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”