Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Tex.) on Thursday, July 29, signed an executive order that inhibits local officials and businesses from imposing mask mandates and demanding vaccination proof.
The order outlaws agencies and businesses that receive funds from the state from issuing mask mandates, demanding people to get vaccinated, and requiring people to present their vaccination status to access services.
Abbott declares that Texas would rely on personal awareness to go through the new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outburst fuelled by the transmissive Delta variant.
“The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates,” he said in a statement.
For areas where infection rates are soaring, Abbott allowed citizens to proceed with personal measures, “such as wearing face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.” But forcing others will be forbidden.
“Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19,” the governor stated. “They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities.”
This latest order, he said, is incorporated with his May 18 ruling that imposes a fine of up to $1,000 if businesses and local entities are found enforcing pandemic safety protocols.
On the other hand, the Order accepts nursing homes and living facilities to require their residents to get vaccinated. He further added that state hospitals, living centers, and jails could maintain “appropriate policies regarding the wearing of face coverings.”
Regarding the experimental vaccines, while Abbott agrees that the jabs “are the most effective defense against the virus,” he noted they “will always remain voluntary—never forced—in the State of Texas.”
On Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported 6,400 new infections, with 370 patients hospitalized for the virus overnight, according to NBCDFW. The state has reported more than 35,000 new instances of the virus in the last week, and hospitalizations have risen from roughly 3,600 to more than 5,600.
As of July 27, the Lone Star State has had 43.49% of its population fully vaccinated, and 51.08% of Texans had received at least one dose, per the state database.
The new executive order came just one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) renewed their mask guidelines.
In the latest guidance, the CDC recommended wearing masks in public, indoor settings, especially schools, by vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
This was a reversed course from its previous statement, which ensured that fully vaccinated people did not have an obligation to put on the face garments. It used to be a reason to encourage more Americans to accept the jabs.