Facing a resurgence of COVID cases, Cameron County officials consider new mask mandate

Local News

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Officials in the largest cities in Texas defying Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order that said local governments cannot make their own mask mandates.

In a press conference on August 9, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño said that the county would consider a similar move.

“We’re reviewing, obviously, the legal perspectives with regards to the authority that we still believe we have versus the orders that have been sent down by the governor,” said Treviño.

So far, no county has gone as far as to require masks everywhere in the county, just on county property. Attorney Rick Barrera said issuing a countywide mask mandate would most likely be stopped by the courts. 

“They would seek an injunction that would stop by judicial order the county commission from being able to do that,” explained Barrera. “If they continued to do that, that body or the people involved could be in trouble.”

There is a fine of up to $1,000 for any government official who implements a mask mandate against the Governor’s order.

Dallas ISD argued the executive order doesn’t stop their rights as employers, a loophole Cameron County could use as well to mandate employees of the county wear masks, and visitors do as well.

“You’re okay to require masks in your business if you prefer it, the governor can’t stop you on that,” said Barrera.

It is unclear if the assertation that government entities and school boards can mandate mask wearing for people on their property will hold up to a legal challenge.

If a new mandate is issued, it could only be enforced on property owned by the county.

Judge Treviño said the county will do what it needs to do to protect the public.

“We don’t want to lose lives and knowing that there are children under 12 that cannot be vaccinated at the moment, we need to do everything in our means to protect them. And that falls on the adults,” he said.

Judge Treviño said Cameron County officials will discuss their options on Tuesday.

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