Texas Governor Abbott threatens to amend cities and local officials if they impose mask warrants
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed an executive order prohibiting state government entities from requiring face masks and fines from those who do.
Under the Republican governor’s order, which goes into effect Friday, local governments or officials who implement mandatory masks can be fined up to $ 1,000.
“Anyone can wear a mask if they want to. It’s just that it’s a decision for Texans not to be forced by the government,” Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. “Closing the bell.”
Schools are subject to a slightly different schedule under Abbott Tuesday’s order, which relies on his decision early March to eliminate the state mask requirement and lift restrictions on commercial capacity.
According to Abbott’s latest ordinance, Texas public schools can keep their current mask policies in place until June 4. After this date, however, face protection requirements are prohibited for teachers, staff and students, as well as for other visitors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises schools to keep coronavirus mitigation measures in place, including face masks, for the remainder of the school year. Eligibility for the Covid vaccine was recently expanded for children aged 12 to 15. over half a million children in this age group received an injection of Covid.
Abbott’s action on Tuesday follows guidelines recently released by the CDC last week. The public health agency said fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear face masks in most environments, both indoors and outdoors.
While local rules take precedence over CDC guidelines, the change in recommendations has always prompted a number of states and large retailers to relax their existing mask policies for those vaccinated.
Others have applauded CDC guidelines, saying that at this point in the pandemic – with the drop in new Covid infections and the increase in vaccinations – that makes sense.
Almost 48% of the American population has received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine and 37.5% are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the CDC.
As vaccinations reach more Americans, the number of new daily infections kept falling. Based on an average of seven days, the country is reporting around 32,000 new cases of coronavirus per day. That’s according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. This is the lowest figure since the end of June.
The seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases in Texas is 2,040, down nearly 9% from a week ago, according to CNBC analysis.
In March, Abbott’s decision to drastically reduce coronavirus restrictions was heavily criticized by President Joe Biden and health officials. Abbott told CNBC his strategy has proven to be effective.
“The Covid situation in Texas is such that we can and must be 100% open,” Abbott said. “We can eliminate the masks required by the government, but we still encourage people to make their own choices for themselves and for their own safety.”
Some entities are excluded from the governor’s order on Tuesday, such as hospitals that are owned or operated by the government, as well as facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.