County judges react to executive order prohibiting cities and counties from creating mask mandates

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — In the executive order, GA-36 Governor Greg Abbott said he was “defending Texan’s liberty to choose” whether or not to wear a mask by prohibiting cities and counties from creating mask mandates.

To read the full Executive Order, click here.

The state’s average COVID-19 cases per day have dropped by over 20,000 since the peak in January. Those positive numbers have been prompting some counties to begin relaxing their own mask requirements before the governor’s order.

“In the memo that I had sent out, I said that we still recommended that they use precautions and that if they felt that there was any type of danger, that they certainly wear their face covering,” said Eloy Vera, Starr County Judge.

The improvement of the pandemic prompted Governor Abbott to announce that “Texans’, not government, should decide their best health practices.”

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said he was concerned that the order wouldn’t allow the county to require masks to protect sick patients in their county-run health clinics.

Statement from Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said that all the county could do was suggest people think about the safety of others.

“Either they get vaccinated, which is really the best option, that everyone gets vaccinated. And if not, that they do wear a face covering,” said Vera.

Public schools will be allowed to continue requiring masks through June 4, but after then they cannot.

Idea Public Schools released a statement saying they would continue to take COVID-19 precautions, including temperature checks and requiring social distancing when on school property, even though the mask mandate is gone.

In the executive order, Governor Abbott says that any city or county official that puts a mask mandate in effect could be fined up to one thousand dollars.

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