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US: Judge allows US city of Austin to defy Texas order to lift mask mandate

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 March 2021, 10:41 IST

US Judge Lora Livingston has allowed the Texas city of Austin to defy Governor Greg Abbott's order that terminated the statewide mask mandate, Mayor Steve Adler said in a statement.

"Austin's mask rules will remain in effect for the next two weeks," Adler said on Friday. "We return to court on March 26. No matter what happens then, we will continue to be guided by doctors and data. Masking works."

Earlier on Friday, Judge Livingston did not approve Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's request for a temporary restraining order on Austin's mask mandate. The judge scheduled a second court hearing on March 26 to further address the matter because the city of Austin did not have adequate time to prepare for the legal challenge.

Paxton filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin after Mayor Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown refused to comply with Abbott's executive order to lift the mask mandate by Wednesday afternoon.

Abbott's executive order also allowed all businesses in Texas to operate at 100 percent without any coronavirus-related health measures. However, the governor's order includes a provision that would require public-health measures to be reinstated if the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Texas counties reach dangerous levels that threaten hospital space.


First published: 13 March 2021, 10:41 IST