Governor Greg Abbott Mandates Face Coverings to Be Worn Throughout Majority of the State
Thursday afternoon (July 2nd), Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a new Executive Order and Proclamation that orders the wearing of face coverings in public across the vast majority of the state.
Gov. Abbott said:
Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.
The order officially applies to public spaces in Texas counties that have at least 20 positive cases of COVID-19.
The governor also granted additional powers to mayors and county judges to impose restrictions on outdoor gatherings and events.
According to the Executive Order, the mandate goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 3rd, 2020.
The order officially states:
"Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household."
There are some exceptions to the order, including:
- Not applying to children age 10 and below.
- Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
- Any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink.
- Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal-care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal.
(Click this link to read all exceptions.)
The governor's executive order also includes a set of penalties for non-compliance, but jail time is specifically prohibited as a penalty:
Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face-covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.
This executive order from the governor remains in effect indefinitely.