EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Department of Public Health and the City Attorney’s Office held a media briefing Wednesday afternoon on the local face mask mandate as well as a court-issued restraining order that blocks Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's prohibition of the El Paso order. (You can watch it in the video player above.)
El Paso Public Health Authority Hector Ocaranza implemented a mask requirement for indoor establishments, including schools, that took effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
During an emergency El Paso City Council meeting earlier this week, council members approved a city legal challenge to Abbott’s executive order that banned local governments from imposing mask rules.
Late Tuesday night, a judge agreed with the city's position, ruling that Ocaranza has the authority to protect the El Paso community despite Abbott’s fight against local restrictions.
In issuing a temporary restraining order against the governor, the judge also found that Abbott had "exceeded his authority."
So far, there's been no response from the state of Texas to the court decision.
"We haven't received any official communication from either the state attorney general's office or governor's office," City Attorney Karla Neiman told reporters during the briefing. The judge scheduled an injunction hearing for later this month.
Anyone over age 2 must don a face covering while indoors under Ocaranza's order; violations are a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500.
The El Paso mask mandate does include a number of exceptions. For example, it doesn’t apply to people exercising in indoor gyms or attending religious services. You can read the complete mandate below.