Governor Abbott Establishes Statewide Face Covering Requirement, Issues Proclamation to Limit Gatherings
AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions. The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.
“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,” said Governor Abbott. “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. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe. If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”
The order does not apply to anyone younger than 10 years of age, individuals with a medical condition or disability that prevent them from wearing a face covering, any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink, any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household, any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver, any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal, any person while the person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged, any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged, any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or any person in county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19- and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form--providing, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. on July 3.