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Gov. Abbott issues new executive order combining existing COVID-19 orders

Abbott's order includes, "no one may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering."

TEXAS, USA — Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order (GA-38) Thursday combining several existing COVID-19 executive orders to promote statewide uniformity and certainty in the state's COVID-19 response. 

In a press release, Abbott said, “Today’s executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s continued fight against COVID-19. The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates. Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. 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. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas.”

In the latest order, Abbott says hygiene, social distancing and other prevention measures is a personal responsibility for Texans and while strongly encouraged, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will remain a personal choice, never mandated by the state.

Abbott said state and local officials should continue to use every reasonable means to make the vaccine available for every eligible person who chooses to receive one. 

Additionally, the governor's order says in order to preserve livelihoods while protecting lives, there are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishments. In areas where the COVID-19 transmission rate is high, Texans are encouraged to follow the safe practices they have already mastered, 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 no one may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering.

Read the governor's order here.