Texas judge’s 30-day coronavirus mask order blasted as ‘ultimate government overreach’

A judge in Harris County, Texas, on Wednesday ordered residents to start wearing face masks in public for 30 days beginning next week — or possibly face a fine.

But Judge Lina Hidalgo’s action, which intended to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in the third most populous county in the U.S., drew immediate pushback — including from the state’s lieutenant governor, who called the move “the ultimate government overreach,” and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who wrote that “commonsense guidelines” should never lead to “unjust tyranny.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick noted in a Twitter message that Hidalgo’s order – affecting some 4 million Texans in Houston and some nearby communities – was announced on the same day as plans surfaced for closing a costly temporary hospital “because it wasn’t needed.”

“These kind of confused government policies fuel public anger — and rightfully so,” wrote Patrick, who has been a vocal advocate for reopening the Texas economy and getting people back to work.