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Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation To Limit Gather

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued a statewide order that requires Texans to wear face coverings in public spaces due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The face coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose in counties that have 20 or more cases, with a few exceptions, he said in a news release. The majority of Texas’ 254 counties meet that threshold.

Abbott has also given mayors and county judges the authority to impose bans on outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people, with exceptions.

Temperature checks ‘highly encouraged’ at most businesses, required at others

Before Thursday’s mask mandate, Abbott encouraged the use of face coverings but stopped short of issuing an order that required them. Abbott had also prevented local governments from enforcing penalties on residents who did not wear them.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a news release. “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.”

City of Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope had previously issued mask requirements for businesses, but not for the public.

Abbott has clamped down on the reopening of the Texas economy due to the recent, alarming rise in infections.

Bars were forced to close Friday, and Abbott scaled back restaurant dining capacity to 50%.

Abbott said restricting gatherings “will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe.”

The new orders were issued ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. Last week, Abbott said he would ban gatherings of more than 100 people.

Read the Governor's Executive Order

Read the Governor's Proclamation


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