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(Bob Daemrrich)

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication at noon to include the latest development in this story.

Despite a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Austin and Travis County will get to keep their local mask update for at least two more weeks per a state judge's ruling.


A day after Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Austin and Travis County for keeping the local mask mandate, Judge Lora Livingston rejected the AG's request to file a temporary restraining order against the city on Friday morning.

After denying the request, Livingston set an injunction hearing on the case for March 26.

Paxton had previously warned that he would sue if the local mandate was not lifted by 6 p.m. on Wednesday and stuck to his word, filing a lawsuit on Thursday.


Despite Gov. Greg Abbott's order reversing the mandate going into effect on Wednesday, Austin and Travis County managed to keep their mask rule in place due to a previous order that allowed Escott to make ordinances to promote public safety. In a statement on Tuesday, Adler said that Escott would promote public health and keep businesses and schools safe by enforcing the mandate.

The order, which was signed in December 2020, said that any offense could result in a fine of up to $2,000, but Abbott said in a statewide press conference on Tuesday, March 2 that local authorities would no longer be able to enforce rules after the state's order was lifted.

Adler rejoiced the victory by Tweeting that "masking works," and the city would continue to follow the advice of health officials.


With one battle down in Austin's favor, the city and state will go head-to-head once again on March 26 to see which COVID ordinance prevails.

The decision will depend on if the state or local governments are ultimately in charge of enforcing COVID-19 restriction.

While Abbott said that no district judge could enforce COVID restrictions, Austin's rule is by the order of the local health authority. Paxton will need to prove that the governor has full authority on COVID responses through the Texas Disaster Act, while the city will have to prove that they can undermine state authority.

Both sides are fully prepared to back themselves up with evidence in this battle. In the same tweet that said city officials could be confused due to "quintuple masking," Paxton said that Austin would "lose again" to the state.

"We have already taken you to court under similar circumstances. You lost," Paxton said. "If you continue to flout the law in this manner, we'll take you to court again and you'll lose again."

Adler hit back with a statement on Thursday and said that the AG is "simply wrong."

"Wearing masks is perhaps the most important thing we can do to slow the spread of the virus," Adler said. "We are not aware of any Texas court that has allowed state leadership to overrule the health protection rules of a local health authority."

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