Bexar County Judge wants to make face masks mandatory, asks Gov. Abbott for new executive order

Wolff asks Abbott to issue executive order allowing local jurisdictions to determine if face masks should be mandatory

Greg Abbott and Nelson Wolff (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Citing increasing numbers of new COVID-19 cases in San Antonio and across Texas, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff asked Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday to issue a new executive order that would allow local jurisdictions to determine if mandatory face coverings are needed.

Currently, face coverings are optional for residents after Abbott said cities and counties couldn’t fine residents for not wearing a face covering where social distancing is challenging but suggested that people wear one, which Wolff said was a mistake.

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“As a result, we see fewer and fewer people wearing face coverings and rates of infection are increasing,” Wolff said in the letter.

RELATED: All-time high COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations reported in San Antonio, Bexar County this week

Wolff said the result of fewer people wearing masks has resulted in a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the past week. He said on Friday, Bexar County recorded 172 new cases, preceded by 507 new cases Tuesday through Thursday.

“We’re seeing a spike. This is not gradual,” said Dawn Emerick, San Antonio Metro Health Director, on Thursday, saying the county is entering a second wave of increasing rates of COVID-19 infection.

RELATED: Track daily spikes in COVID-19 cases in San Antonio

Another alarming statistic for Wolff are the 138 patients hospitalized in San Antonio for COVID-19, the highest daily number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations ever in the county.

“If we are going to be successful in the reopening of our economy, we need to put in place some mandatory health requirements,” Wolff said. “The most important of these is the requirement to wear a face covering within six feet of another person. If this trend continues, and I believe it will, we will see an increase in both the burden upon our community and the need for additional resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis.”

‘We are entering a second wave’: Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations spiking in San Antonio

You can read Wolff’s letter below:

About the Author

David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.

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