District Judge Tonya Parker ruled in favor of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ mask mandate.
Parker said Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask ban is a violation against Jenkins’ efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Judge Jenkins and the citizens of Dallas County will be irreparably harmed if Judge Jenkins is barred from engaging in mandatory mitigation practices, including face coverings and mask mandates,” Judge Tonya Parker wrote in the order. “Face coverings and masks are in effective mitigation strategy and can further reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Parker’s temporary injunction allows Jenkins to continue enforcing the use of masks in businesses, schools and county-owned buildings. While the order initially included a $1,000 penalty for businesses who choose not to enforce the mandate, the penalty was later removed. The injunction is expected to escalate to the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas and later to the Texas Supreme Court before a final decision is made in the case.
After the first rounds of hearings, a restraining order was issued by Parker and stayed by the state Supreme Court while courts deliberated whether local or state authorities have the authority to enforce mask mandates. The injunction is expected to follow a similar path as will the injunction from Bexar County and San Antonio.
The actions came in a lawsuit, filed by Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch after Jenkins had Koch removed from an Aug. 3 meeting for refusing to wear a mask.
At Tuesday’s hearing on whether to grant an injunction in the case, lawyers from the Texas Attorney General’s office supported Koch’s position arguing that the governor's orders are superior to Dallas County.