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Texas governor files legal challenge to end Dallas County mask mandate

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday filed a petition to halt a judge's order requiring face masks inside schools and businesses in Dallas County. The order was signed despite Abbott previously banning government entities and officials from implementing mask mandates in Texas.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Wednesday signed an order requiring public schools, child care centers and businesses in Dallas County to develop health and safety plans that include, at minimum, face mask requirements for employees and visitors, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports. Jenkins cited rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the reasoning behind the mask mandate.

Earlier this week, Jenkins sued Abbott over the executive order banning mask mandates. District Judge Tonya Parker on Tuesday night issued a temporary injunction halting the order, CBS DFW reports.

On Wednesday, Abbott and Paxton filed a petition saying Jenkins' order violates the previous ban on mask mandates.

"Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy GA-38—which prohibits gov't entities from mandating masks—will be taken to court," Abbott said Wednesday. "The path forward relies on personal responsibility — not government mandates."

A hearing on the temporary injunction against the ban on mask mandates is scheduled for August 24.

Texas has recently seen a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. According to the state's health department, Texas is averaging around 14,000 new cases per week and roughly 60 deaths per week, nearly triple the number of deaths per week from one month ago.

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