Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st Civil District Court in Travis County made the ruling March 26 to deny the state attorney general’s office a temporary injunction, which would have forced local authorities to lift the order while the case was ultimately decided.
“I cannot find that Plaintiff met its burden to demonstrate the right to the relief it seeks,” Livingston wrote in her decision.
Under the local health department orders, Austin and Travis County businesses are instructed to require masks for both staff and patrons. In Austin, all individuals must also wear a face covering outside the household.
Statewide orders requiring masks have not been in effect since March 10, when Gov. Greg Abbott lifted them. When the governor made that announcement, many Austin businesses shared on social media that their required mask policies would stay in place regardless of whether there was a state requirement or not.
Chris Cunningham, co-owner of Nervous Charlie’s bagel shop in north Central Austin, told Community Impact Newspaper at the time that he would not feel comfortable changing the shop’s mask policy and to-go-only business model until his staff had the chance to be vaccinated. All Texas residents are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 29.
“For us it was a real easy decision,” Cunningham said.