Health Authority recommends countywide mask mandate starting Wednesday; City files lawsuit against State of Texas regarding Local Authority

During an emergency session called on Monday, the City Council voted 5 to 3 to file a lawsuit against Texas Governor Greg Abbott that would support local protective measures.

Additionally, City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza is preparing to issue a countywide mask mandate for all indoor facilities.

The Local Health Authority Order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, and will include the following:

  • All individuals over the age of two (2), are to wear some form of face covering over their nose and mouth, while in indoor spaces.
  • A face covering may include a variety of options.
  • Parents and guardians of children over the age of two (2) and under the age of ten (10) shall be responsible for appropriately masking children when outside their residence.
  • A face covering is not required on anyone who has trouble breathing, has a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, or is actively exercising indoors and not within 6 feet of any other individual not from the same household.
  • A person is not required to wear a face covering while the person is consuming food or drink.
  • Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccination, for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and handwashing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.

“While our community has been doing a phenomenal job on getting their vaccines, our state is facing a very difficult time with the Delta variant, as we continue to see an increase in new COVID-19 cases, primarily among those who are unvaccinated. This in part is why we have continuously recommended the use of face coverings when indoors,” said City-County Local Health Authority, Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

“The scientific evidence behind the use of a face cover as a preventive tool is compelling and it has shown in our region a positive effect in previous surges. We do not want to wait until we see another surge in our community, but rather take the necessary steps now to protect our community to reduce case numbers and the risk of deaths. In addition to face coverings, we urge eligible individuals to get fully vaccinated as the vaccine remains to be one of the greatest public health tools that we have at this moment.”

Once finalized the Local Health Authority Order will be posted online at