TEXAS - Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide mask order went into effect Friday, with mixed reactions from local leaders. Some say the masks alone will not be enough, while others say they’re not going to be enforcing this.
As Governor Greg Abbott’s statewide mask order went into effect Friday, just ahead of the 4th of July holiday weekend, local authorities like the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office say they will take no action to enforce the $250 fine for those in violation.
In a Facebook video, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough echoed a similar stance.
"Like you, I am amazed and profoundly disappointed with the Governor’s decision to remove the self-governance and personal responsibility from the people of the state of Texas," Keough said.
TX Rep. Dist. 128 Briscoe Cain, who’s also an attorney, said the Governor’s order goes back on his previous calls for the government to not infringe on individual liberties such as requiring folks to wear a mask.
"Before I was forced to and so currently depending on where I'm going. I, I choose to wear a mask but I believe that that's my choice," Cain said.
In a tweet reacting to the Governor's order, Cain said, “Get fined for not wearing a mask? I will gladly represent you. FOR FREE.”
"On April 23, the Texas Supreme Court said that the Constitution is not suspended when the government declares a state of disaster," Cain said.
Meanwhile, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says Texas isn’t doing enough to slow the spread of Covid-19.
During an interview with ABC This Week, Hidalgo says her initial mask order was overruled, her authority taken away and enforcement denied – a mixed message from local and state authorities who are supposed to work together to defeat the virus.
"What we need right now is to do what works, which is a stay home order. We don’t have room to experiment. We don’t have room for incrementalism when we’re seeing these kinds of numbers, nor should we wait for all the hospital beds to fill and all these people to die before we taking drastic action," Hidalgo said.
Abbott's order says those who are not wearing a mask will first be given a warning, but repeat offenders will receive up to a $250 fine.