Abbott: Prohibiting mask mandates is about ‘defending Texans’ liberty to choose’


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently issued an executive order barring governmental entities such as cities, counties and school districts from implementing mask mandates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbott’s executive order on May 18 gave local governments until May 21 to eliminate their mask mandates. Schools must lift theirs by June 4.

“We can continue to mitigate #COVID19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up,” Abbott wrote in a May 18 Twitter post.

Local governments or officials that fail to comply with the directive prohibiting face covering mandates can be fined up to $1,000. The order also bans government entities and officials from restricting activities in response to COVID-19.

“Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices,” Abbott wrote in another Twitter post.

Texas began reopening at full capacity and removing face covering requirements at the beginning of March, according to the executive order. The prohibition of mask mandates comes as COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in Texas have been steadily declining.

“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 press release.

A third of Texas’s population has been fully vaccinated, but most children haven’t received the vaccine. Emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine was just expanded earlier this month to include individuals as young as 12 years old.

State-supported living centers, hospitals owned or operated by the government, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities and county and municipal jails are unaffected by the mask mandate ban order.

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