Earlier today Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order to ban all government entities in the state from establishing mask mandates. The ban, which includes cities and counties, will make it possible for anyone, vaccinated or not, to walk around without a mask.
Starting this Friday, any government entity that tries to impose a mask mandate will be subject to a fine of up to $1,000. The order exempts state-supported living centers, government-owned or -operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.
The order also says that by early June, public schools will no longer be able to mandate masks on their campuses, “no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor may be required to wear a face covering,” says Abbott’s new order.
It’s worth noting that only 30% of Texans have received full COVID-19 vaccine protocols, and most children in the state remain unvaccinated. It was only last week that Pfizer was authorized to vaccine kids 12 and older.
“The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities,” Abbott said in a statement. “We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”