AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott has issued a new executive order banning all entities in the state, including privately owned businesses, from enforcing vaccination mandates for employees and customers who object.
Prior to this most recent order issued Monday, GA-40; Abbott had barred government entities such as schools and state agencies from mandating vaccinations. GA-40 states that:
“No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer...”
The document notes that individuals may exempt themselves from any mandate if they feel compelled morally, religiously, or medically.
Individuals may refuse vaccination also if they have already recovered from the coronavirus.
"Given Gov. Abbott’s mandate, you probably wouldn’t have to say much to negate yourself from taking a vaccine," said J.A. Wright, 3L law clerk with Houston-based Rose Sanders law firm. "... However, in the event you’re an employee or something of that sort, then yes – you would have to take a designation as to why you wouldn’t submit to the vaccine at that time.”
Wright explained that these state-level executive orders could be superseded by federal orders like the one that mandates nursing home staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
“With the federal mandate, nursing homes deal with a particular subset of the population, which is senior citizens," he commented. "And they are more at risk when contracting COVID-19.”
In the Brazos Valley, Caldwell ISD Superintendent Andy Peters has already had his hands tied by the government this year, as public schools have been barred from mandating vaccines.
The news of this week’s executive order troubled Peters even more. He said that he would not even mandate vaccines at his schools if he could.
However, Peters insisted he is disturbed that his school, and now the rest of his community, have lost the power to make decisions for their own organizations.
“That’s like me, as a superintendent, just making rules and then ignoring the fact that I have a school board that is supposed to be overseeing the principals of our school district," Peters explained. "I would not do that, and the governor of the state of Texas shouldn’t be doing it either.”
Major entities that will be affected by this order include hospitals.
Baylor Scott & White, as well as St. Joseph Health, have been requiring employee vaccinations.
Those policies are potentially subject to change, as indicated by the wording of GA-40. Baylor Scott & White issued this written statement on Tuesday:
“We are currently reviewing the executive order issued by Governor Greg Abbott.”
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