Following an unfavorable outcome at an appellate court, Gov. Greg Abbott asked the Texas Supreme Court to block the mask mandate in San Antonio and Bexar County.

A Bexar County district judge issued a temporary order on Aug. 16 allowing the city and county to require masks in city and county buildings and public schools. That order keeps the mask mandates in place until December, when a trial is set for the case. Attorney General Ken Paxton, on behalf of the state, appealed that order immediately to the 4th Court of Appeals, but a panel of judges upheld the local mask mandate last Thursday

Paxton took that decision to the Texas Supreme Court on Monday, arguing in the filing that the 4th Court of Appeals’ ruling adds to the confusion over mask requirements in Texas, and asked for “urgent” action.

Paxton wrote that the 4th Court’s action “upends, rather than preserves, the status quo. The court of appeals’ decision thereby compounds the widespread confusion over mask mandates in Texas and frustrates the state’s ability to cohesively address the pandemic.”

The 4th Court of Appeals had judged keeping a local mask mandate maintains the status quo, as a previous temporary restraining order granted on Aug. 10 first put the mandates in place in San Antonio and Bexar County. 

Paxton also argued that the state’s high court must take quick action because other cities and counties are being granted their own temporary orders allowing them to require masks despite the governor’s executive order prohibiting that.

“The governor’s injury is therefore both immediate and ongoing, and any recourse to the regular channels of appellate review will come too late,” the appeal stated.

As of Tuesday morning, the Texas Supreme Court had not moved on Abbott’s appeal. The court previously blocked the first temporary restraining order that the city and county were granted in order to require masks in their buildings and in public schools. Ruling in a separate legal action Thursday, the court denied Abbott’s request to block a similar mask mandate in Travis County, but it did so on a technicality, according to the Texas Tribune.

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the local government reporter at the San Antonio Report.