For months, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) refused to require citizens of the Lone Star state to wear face masks when out in public. In fact, he banned local governments from doing so.
But with new cases of the coronavirus hitting record numbers, Abbott has now issued a statewide mandate requiring Texans to wear masks in public in any county with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases.
From the Texas Tribune:
The order requires Texans living in counties more than 20 coronavirus cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible.
But it provides several exceptions, including children who are younger than 10 years old, people who have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, people who are eating or drinking and people who are exercising outdoors.
The mask order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. Friday. It immediately applies to all Texas counties, but counties with 20 or fewer active cases can be exempted — if they opt out. County judges must submit an application to be exempted to the Texas Division of Emergency Management. TDEM will list the counties that have opted out on its website.
He also banned certain outdoor gatherings of over 10 people unless local officials approve. He had previously set the threshold at over 100 people.
Without naming names or pointing fingers, Abbott’s order specifically does NOT exempt one group: “any person attending a protest or demonstration” with over 10 people who cannot socially distance.
Black Lives Matter movement – he’s talking to you.
Hospitalizations for coronavirus hit 6,904 on Wednesday, the third straight day setting a new record.
BREAKING: Gov. Greg Abbott issues order to close barn door a month after all the horses escaped.
— Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat) July 2, 2020
Greg Abbott doesn’t get applause for leaving the pan on the stove, watching the flames spread all the way up the side of the house, and then when the smoke is so thick the neighbors are out in the street, finally saying “ok fine, I guess now I’ll call the fire deparment”
— Patrick Dillon (@mpdillon) July 2, 2020
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas residents to wear face coverings in public as the state confronts mounting coronavirus cases. "It requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces," he said. https://t.co/yoS9t1PM1g pic.twitter.com/wsHWjNpQsn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 2, 2020