GA-38, related to the current pandemic, states that public-funded entities cannot require the vaccine, nor can they ask for proof of vaccination and suspends rules designating local officials as emergency management directors with the power to declare the state in disaster. In terms of businesses, the order recommends they operate normally – even if the number of cases exceeds the previous lockdown.
Along with this order, Abbott issued a “blanket suspension of ‘any other statute invoked by any local governmental entity or official in support of a face-covering requirement.’” Those who continue to impose mask mandates can be fined up to $1,000.
However, the order does allow state-funded hospitals, jails, and assisted living centers to keep current face-covering policies in place – but they cannot have vaccine requirements.
This order comes just one day after the CDC reversed its previous guidelines stating those who are vaccinated did not need to be masked indoors.
Just this past week, the TSTA asked Abbott to revise his previous mask mandate for students this fall.
Whether or not this was his response, the order essentially banned school districts from creating mask mandates for their respective districts.
The biggest concerns for health officials and lawmakers are the vaccine ban in hospitals and children going back to school this fall amongst the uptick in cases.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins believes this vaccine ban “should be a concern for anyone going to the hospital for any reason”, according to the Dallas News.
On the other hand, with children going back to school, there is a worry that the number of cases will skyrocket without the mandate of masks, especially among those ages 12 and under, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. With the average number of cases doubling since last week, Abbott’s call for “personal responsibility” may not be enough.