Gov. Abbott denies requests from mayor and judge to enforce masks in schools, government buildings

Gov. Abbott shoots down talks of mask mandates after signing executive order banning them

The mayor of San Antonio and a county judge sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for permission to enforce mask wearing in schools and government buildings after the Republican governor shot down talks of mask mandates in the state. 

"The time for government mask mandates is over—now is the time for personal responsibility," Abbott tweeted Tuesday. "In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov't entities. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks."

The following day, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said a mask mandate could help save the lives of children before they head back to school. He and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff also sent a letter Wednesday to Abbott requesting the ability to enforce masks. 

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"As you know, students younger than 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination so it’s on all of us to protect those young people in our community," Nirenberg said Wednesday during a press briefing.

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"Schools should be able to do that," Wolff said of a mask mandate. He also added that "[Unvaccinated people] are putting themselves in great jeopardy, they’re putting everybody else in great jeopardy."

Nirenberg’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’s request for comment on the matter. 

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Abbott’s office told Fox News that the governor’s official statement on mask requirements is his Tuesday tweet shooting down talks of mandates. 

Metro Health sent a text notification this week to Bexar County residents advising them to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, which falls in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance this week. 

The CDC had said in May that fully vaccinated people were not required to wear masks indoors, but updated its mask guidance Tuesday for vaccinated people over the threat of the delta variant of the virus. It now urges people in some areas of the country with "high" or "substantial" COVID-19 transmission to mask up indoors. 

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The updates come as the Biden administration continues urging Americans to get vaccinated, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying this week that vaccines "work."