District Court Judge Tonya Parker said in her ruling the mask ban violates Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ authority to prioritize public health during the coronavirus pandemic, FOX 4 in Dallas reported. (In Texas, county judges are equivalent to county executives.)Abbott’s executive order bans a requirement for the shot even if it is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, as the Pfizer vaccine was this week, according to the Texas Tribune.
The governor’s previous order banned vaccine mandates only for those products under emergency approval.
Parker’s injunction will likely be appealed to the court of appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.
“It’s a victory for humans who live in Dallas County against the virus,” Jenkins said of the ruling, according to the Dallas Morning News. “I hope we’ll all take off our red hat and our blue hat and put on our human hat and listen to doctors.”
Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said in a statement, “Governor Abbott’s resolve to protect the rights and freedoms of all Texans has not wavered. The Office of the Attorney General has successfully defended the Governor’s executive orders in the past, and we are confident they will do so again.”
Jenkins recently issued an emergency order that required people to wear masks inside county buildings, public schools and businesses, according to FOX 4.
The governor also reportedly plans to add the vaccine mandate issue to the Texas legislature’s current packed special session.
“Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas,” Abbott said in a statement, the Tribune reported.
His order says “no governmental entity” can require the vaccine but keeps exceptions for places like nursing homes.
Abbott himself is vaccinated and has encouraged Texans to get their shots.
The legislature is in its second special session with 17 items already on the agenda. A quorum was finally restored in the House after dozens of Democrats staged a multi-week walkout in an effort to prevent the passage of a controversial voting rights bill.