Texas Mayor Applauds Court Decision Allowing Mask Mandate to Remain for 2 More Weeks

Following a district judge's decision Friday to set a trial for March 26 regarding Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's request for a court order blocking Travis County and Austin from enforcing a mask mandate, Austin Mayor Steve Adler celebrated the decision on Twitter.

On Thursday, Paxton filed a lawsuit against Austin and Travis County to try to overturn the mask mandate, calling it illegal. But district Judge Lora Livingston said that it didn't seem "fair" to require a defendant "to call witnesses, put on evidence, file a response (hours later)," according to the Austin-American Statesman.

In a Friday tweet, Adler showed that he's prepared for the trial and encouraged residents to mask up.

"Good news! We learned this morning that Austin's mask rules will remain in effect for the next two weeks. We return to court March 26. No matter what happens then, we will continue to be guided by doctors and data. Masking works," he wrote.

The tweet also had a GIF of a pink face mask that alternated between the phrases "Wear a mask" and "Save a life" on the front of it.

Good news! We learned this morning that Austin's mask rules will remain in effect for the next two weeks. We return to court March 26.

No matter what happens then, we will continue to be guided by doctors and data. Masking works. #MaskUpATX pic.twitter.com/tD4Gn6xPpk

— Mayor Adler | 😷wear a mask. (@MayorAdler) March 12, 2021

The decision to keep the mandate in place coincides with spring break for many schools in the area.

"People have been wearing masks for a year. I don't know that two more weeks is going to matter one way or the other," Livingston said during the hearing, setting the March 26 trial.

On Thursday, Paxton tweeted that he was going to bring Adler to court, after publicly calling on him and Travis County Judge Andy Brown to rescind mask mandates on Wednesday.

I told Travis County & The City of Austin to comply with state mask law. They blew me off. So, once again, I’m dragging them to court.

Adler will never do the right thing on his own. His obstruction won’t stop me from keeping TX free & open! #ATX https://t.co/crZM7SiN1m

— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) March 11, 2021

In a statement released after Paxton filed his lawsuit, Adler promised to fight along with the others named in the lawsuit to try to keep the mask mandate in place in the interest of public health.

"Judge Brown and I will fight to defend and enforce our local health officials' rules for as long as possible using all the power and tools available to us. We promised to be guided by the doctors, science and data as concerns the pandemic and we do everything we can to keep that promise," he said.

He continued to stress the importance of donning a face covering.

"Wearing masks is perhaps the most important thing we can do to slow the spread of the virus. We are not aware of any Texas court that has allowed state leadership to overrule the health protection rules of a local health authority," he said.

Adler's office declined Newsweek's request for further comment.

Adler and Brown have had run-ins with Paxton in the past. Following an order for restaurants to restrict indoor dining on December 29, 2020 to limit COVID spreads during New Year's celebrations, Paxton and Texas Governor Greg Abbott challenged the decision, where the Texas Supreme Court decided on January 1 to block the order from being enforced, according to the Texas Tribune.

Austin Texas Face Mask
San Jose Hotel engineering manager Rocky Ontiveros, 60, wears a Texas mask on March 3, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new executive order that will end the statewide mask mandate and allow businesses to reopen at 100% capacity on March 10, 2021. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images