Brooks County mask mandate for schools and county facilities extended

Posted at 11:47 AM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 19:35:55-04

UPDATE 8-17:
Brooks County Judge Eric Ramos has extended Brooks County's mask mandates for its county facilities and local public schools for 14 more days

Brooks County has issued indoor mask mandates for its county facilities and local public schools.

"I signed an Executive Order this morning requiring face masks to be worn in all Public Schools, County and City buildings/facilities for the next two weeks," Brooks County Judge Eric Ramos said in a Facebook post released on Friday.

According to the executive order, starting at noon Friday all Brooks County ISD schools and county facilities are required to come up with a plan to mandate masks indoors.

"From the date of this Executive Order, Public Schools operating in Brooks County must develop and implement a health and safety policy ("Health and Safety Policy")," says the executive order. "The Health and Safety Policy must require, at a minimum, universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to public schools, regardless of vaccination status, except for children under 2 years of age."

The county is also encouraging the use of face masks for anyone over the age of 3 when in any public building or space and asking area businesses to consider the following safety procedures:

  • Requiring employees and patrons to wear facemasks
  • Requiring customers to maintain 6 feet of social distance
  • Limit occupancy
  • Implement temperature checks or health screenings
  • Provide hand sanitizer
  • Follow CDC protocols
  • Use contactless payment
  • Promote awareness and training about COVID-19 safety for employees

"Nothing in this Executive Order requires a commercial entity to adopt any specific recommendation," says the order. "However, all commercial entities must post a Health and Safety Policy once adopted in a conspicuous location sufficient to provide clear notice to all employees, customers, and visitors of any health and safety requirements implemented by the commercial entity, including any policy on wearing a facemask."

This order lasts 14 days after the termination of Governor Greg Abbott's statewide public health emergency declaration.

On Tuesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a mask mandatefor schools and businesses in spite of Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to ban local mask orders.

In retaliation, Gov. Abbott and AG Ken Paxton filed a petition in the 5th Court of Appeals on Wednesday to strike down Jenkin's mandate.

"The Texas Disaster Act clearly states that the Governor has the power to guide the state through emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Any school district, public university, or local government official that decides to defy the order will be taken to court," said Abbott's release.

On July 29, 2021, Gov. Abbott issued executive order GA-38, emphasizing the need for "personal responsibility" instead of government mandates. Abbott's office says the executive order has the force and effect of state law, superseding local rules and regulations.

“I’m confident the outcomes to any suits will side with liberty and individual choice, not mandates and government overreach,” said Paxton in the release.