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Governor Abbott orders statewide use of face masks, limits gatherings to no more than 10

Virginians prepare for potential mandate on wearing masks in public
Posted at 3:19 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 15:42:18-04

Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces.

The order applies to counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.

Face masks do not apply to the following:

  • Any person younger than 10 years of age
  • Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents 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 personalcare service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal
  • Any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water
  • Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poli 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
  • Any person in a 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—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards

First-time violators of the face covering requirement will be issued a verbal or written warning. A person's second violation will be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation will be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation.

The governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings over 10 people and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups later than 10 and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

The order takes effect at 12:01 p.m. on July 3.

"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 governor released a new video message to coincide with the executive order, encouraging Texans to do their part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and keep communities safe. To view the video, visit the top of this article.

Full order: