AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council has announced that residents will still be required to wear face masks, despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifting the statewide mandate beginning Wednesday.
The order operates as a public health mandate — under the recommendations of Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott.
“In Austin, we’re committed to saving lives. Period. If state officials don’t want to do their jobs protecting people from the virus, then we will,” said Austin City Council member Greg Casar. “This action is both legal and the right thing to do. If state officials choose to sue, they’ll be going out of their way to harm the health of Texans.”
Abbott announced the end of the statewide mask mandate last week, in addition to the end of restrictions on the opening of businesses, saying, “It’s time to reopen Texas 100%.”
The Governor’s decision to strike down required mask-wearing sparked both support and a firestorm of criticism both locally and nationwide. Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a statement saying the state should be guided by “science and data” — both of which indicate mask-wearing is still needed.
Casar condemned Abbott’s actions, saying: “He’s endangering Texans’ lives so that he can score political points. Locally, we are working around the clock to care for the sick, we’re wearing masks, and we’re providing help to those who need it, despite the recklessness and cowardice of our governor.”
This is a developing story. KXAN will update with more details.