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Judge rules against Gov. Abbott; El Paso’s new mask mandate takes effect Saturday

EL PASO, Texas — A judge Thursday afternoon granted the City of El Paso's request for a temporary injunction, blocking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order forbidding mask mandates.

County Court at Law Judge Ruben Morales' ruling allows El Paso City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza to institute mask rules.

As a result, Ocaranza announced Thursday evening that he would reinstate a mask mandate for all of El Paso County effective Saturday at 12:01 a.m. (You can read the entire mask mandate details at the bottom of this article.)

The judge cited the current threat posed by Covid-19 in El Paso in issuing his decision, and he noted that Abbott himself has acknowledged face masks are effective to help halt the virus' spread.

Last month, Morales had signed a temporary restraining order after determining that Abbott exceeded his authority under the Texas Disaster Act of 1975.

Thursday's granting of an injunction, a more permanent measure than a restraining order, comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the city against Abbott. The judge set a trial date of Oct. 7.

Morales indicated he believed there's a strong likelihood the city would prevail on the merits of the case at trial and he dismissed a claim by Abbott that the court lacked jurisdiction to decide the matter.

The state Attorney General's Office, which represents the governor, said it will appeal Morales' injunction ruling.

Below you'll find the following items, in this order: Copies of Ocaranza's latest mask mandate and Morales' order granting an injunction. You can also view the judge's comments in court in the video player below.

Article Topic Follows: Texas Politics

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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