Hidalgo County ends mask mandate at its buildings

In this March 2, 2021 file photo, a mask required sign is displayed on the entrance to a business in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Hidalgo County announced Friday that the mask mandate for all county buildings has ended.

According to a news release, the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court voted to end the mask mandate during a special session. The vote also ends the mask requirement for all Hidalgo County facilities and employees.

“The CDC still highly encourages and recommends all un-vaccinated people to continue to use a mask for their protection. Everyone should continue to exercise caution in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to follow CDC guidelines,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez said in a news release following the vote. “While the Governor has taken away our ability to mandate masks, we still recommend and encourage the use of facial coverings.”

The vote comes after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday forbidding government entities in Texas — including cities and counties — from requiring facial coverings. According to the order, government entities that impose a mask requirement could face up to a $1,000 fine beginning Friday.

The order also ends mask requirements for schools beginning on June 5. Businesses will not be affected by the order and can still require customers and workers to wear facial coverings.