Texas Governor Greg Abbott Toughens Mask Bans and Vaccine Requirements
On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order reinforcing and expanding statewide mask and vaccine mandate bans.
Abbott’s latest order prohibits any entity that receives public funds or loans of any type from imposing masks or vaccines, in addition to expanding current bans in the state.
In a statement, Abbott stated, “Today’s executive order will give clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s sustained fight against COVID-19.” “The new Executive Order emphasizes that human responsibility, not government requirements, is the way forward. The safe methods that aim to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19 have been perfected by Texans.”
In Texas, COVID-19 instances are on the upswing. As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases was 6,659, nearly doubling from the previous week’s average of 3,901 cases.
The order states that “business activity and judicial actions are free to proceed without COVID-19-related restrictions imposed by local governmental bodies or officials.” It also takes precedence over any previous instructions, including those issued by municipal authority.
Even if hospitalization rates in a given location exceed 15%, small municipalities within the state can no longer limit company capacity. The directive was issued shortly before hospitalizations in the Galveston region surpassed 15% on Thursday.
According to the decision, “no governmental organization or official, including a county, city, school district, or public health authority, may require any person to wear a face covering or mandate that another person wear a face covering.”
However, in state-supported living facilities, government-owned hospitals, and state criminal justice institutions, masks may be imposed under “suitable policies.”
The injunction, which specifically prohibits local officials from mandating workers or consumers to acquire the vaccine, comes only one day after Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged the city manager to mandate vaccination for the majority of city employees. “The Governor’s Executive Order GA-35 prevents the City from enforcing vaccinations,” a city spokesperson reportedly stated.
Abbott tweeted that the order “emphasizes that the route forward rests on personal responsibility rather than government mandates” after signing it, which critics claim goes counter to new CDC guidelines on mask-wearing.
“Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination under an emergency use permission in Texas is always voluntary,” according to the order. This is a condensed version of the information.