Texas Gov. Abbott threatens fines again against local officials and businesses that enforce mask mandates, vaccine requirements

1 month ago 12

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks in Dallas, Texas, U.S.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday, reiterating his opposition to mask mandates, Covid-related business restrictions and vaccination requirements and issuing fines of up to $1,000 on those who fail to comply.

The governor also called on state hospitals to deliver daily reports on their capacity to the Texas Department of State Health Services to send to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates," Abbott said in a statement. Abbott's order reiterates and extends previous orders he's issued penalizing local officials and others for enforcing various Covid safety protocols.

The measure bans government agencies from requiring individuals to get vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination. Public and private entities receiving state funding are prohibited from denying entry to individuals based on their vaccination status, but all nursing homes and living facilities can still require inoculations for their residents.

Abbott incorporated an executive order he first implemented on May 18, which forbade local governments and school districts from issuing mask mandates. Abbott's updated order adds that state hospitals, living centers and jails can "continue to use appropriate policies regarding the wearing of face coverings."

The order emphasizes the removal of all public health limits on Texas businesses as well, encouraging the use of masks in areas with elevated coronavirus transmission rates.

"Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19," Abbott's statement said. "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."

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