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Texas law banning COVID-related mandates by local governments takes effect this week

The new law takes effect while Bexar County is experiencing a rise in infections.

SAN ANTONIO — Despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout the state, Governor Greg Abbott said there will be no mask mandates in Texas. Soon, there will be a new law in place to back up his statement.

On September 1, local governments will be prohibited from requiring COVID-related masks, vaccines, or business shutdowns. However, Senate Bill 29 does not restrict private entities from enforcing their own rules.

In Bexar County, according to the Metropolitan Heath District, COVID cases are on the rise. On the week of July 18 to July 24, the county reported more than 700 COVID cases. This past week, the county reported nearly 2,000 cases.

In Runge, its school district was forced to close last week because too many staff members, including the superintendent, got sick.

Dr. Richard Neel from Castroville said he has seen an uptick in COVID cases at his clinic.

“Definitely been busier in the last few weeks,” Dr. Neel said.

Still, he insists there is no reason to panic.

“It really doesn’t bear any resemblance to the COVID we were seeing two years ago,” Dr. Neel said. “The classic cases are fever, body aches, congestion and just flu like symptoms.”

He said when it comes to masking, he mainly recommends it for his high-risk patients.

“It’s not a bad preventative step to take,” Dr. Neel said.

Dr. Neel said given the current spread and strain of the virus, he does not expect wide-spread masking.

“I haven’t admitted anybody with COVID in two years,” Dr. Neel said.

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