'Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities...'
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order this week preventing public schools and most other government entities from enforcing mask mandates.
The order, which goes into effect on June 4, prohibits the state’s counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, and government officials from requiring masks in public settings.
“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.
“Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities,” he added. “We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”
Local governments or schools who attempt to enforce mask mandates could be fined up to $1,000, according to the order.
Long-term care facilities, hospitals, and prisons are exempt from the new rule.
Abbott’s order is a direct response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask guidance, which says fully vaccinated adults no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, but unvaccinated children must still wear masks while in school.
In response to this guidance, Republicans have rallied against the many mask mandates that are still in place.
Several congressional Republicans, for example, took their protests to the House floor this week, defying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., requirement that all congressmen wear masks while inside the chamber.
“We’ve had enough,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “We are refusing to wear our masks on the floor during this vote in spite of Pelosi’s threat to take $500 from each of us. Her rule is not based on science.”