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Denton shrugs off legal warning from Texas attorney general over mask mandate

Three people hang out below a tree in front of Denton City Hall.
Trevon McWilliams
Downtown Denton

Denton City Council members largely agreed to follow the latest CDC guidance once it's announced this week.

Denton City Council members aren’t taking action on the city's mask mandate despite a warning from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to lift the mandate by noon Tuesday or face legal action.

Last month, the council extended its mandate through the end of March. It also applies to businesses, public schools, and child care centers.

Following an hour-long closed-door meeting, the council on Monday afternoon heard from interim chief of staff Ryan Adams about the latest COVID-19 case count and transmission rate in Denton.

In light of significantly reduced case counts and deaths, Adams reminded the council that CDC guidance on masking is expected to change this week based on hospitalizations rather than transmissibility.

Mayor Pro Tem Paul Meltzer said he wants to follow the latest CDC guidance before making a decision on masking.

“Once that new guidance comes out, if it differs significantly from what has driven our current policy, I'd like to as quickly as possible do an emergency session and reconsider so that we align with whatever the current guidance is,” Meltzer said.

The council largely agreed with Meltzer with the exception of Mayor Gerard Hudspeth.

“I've consistently voted against the mandate and I'm going to maintain that posture,” Hudspeth said. “I think it is unfortunate that we continue to go at this alone. I don't think that is the correct posture to take.”

Ultimately, the council did not vote to lift the mandate.

The Texas Newsroom's Sascha Cordner contributed to this report.

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Pablo Arauz Peña is the breaking news reporter for KERA News.