On May 18, 2021, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-36 relating to the prohibition of governmental entities and officials from mandating face coverings or restricting activities in response to the COVID-19 disaster. This new order raised questions about how this prohibition impacted courts. Once again, the Office of Court Administration quickly sent out COVID Update #24 by email. If you did not receive, I have pasted the update below in its entirety.
If you have not read GA-36 yet, here are some key takeaways:
Effective immediately, no governmental entity or official may require any person to wear a face covering. There are some exceptions to this including state supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, the Texas Department of Justice, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and county and municipal jails.
Public schools shall update guidance for schools before June 5, 2021 and no student, parent, or other staff member or visitor may be required to war a face covering.
Governor Abbott additionally suspends certain statutes in the Government Code, Health and Safety Code, and Local Government Code as well as any other statute invoked by any local government entity or official in support of a face-covering requirement.
Under Section 418,173 of the Government Code, Abbott states that nay face-covering requirement by a local governmental entity or official constitutes a failure to comply and is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 beginning at 11:59 p.m. on May 21, 2021.
In the coming days, look for more guidance from the Supreme Court. At TMCEC, we will keep you updated with the latest information.