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Gov. Abbott issues executive order requiring most Texans to wear masks in public

The order is applied to all Texas counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives to greet Vice President Mike Pence at Love Field in Dallas, Sunday, June 28, 2020.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives to greet Vice President Mike Pence at Love Field in Dallas, Sunday, June 28, 2020.(Tony Gutierrez | AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 3:36 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KOSA) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order which will require a majority of Texans to wear masks while they’re out in public.

According to the order, this will be required in all counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases with few exceptions.

The order will also allow mayors and county judges to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and make it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must keep six feet away from others.

Do you agree with Governor Abbott’s decision on masks? Click here to vote on our poll.

First-time violators of the order will receive a verbal or written warning. Repeat offenders will be fined up to $250.

The order will officially go into effect just after 12 p.m. on Friday, 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 face mask requirements do not apply to the following: 1. any person younger than 10, 2. any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering, 3. any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink, 4. 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; 5. any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver; 6. 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; 7. any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake, or similar body of water; 8. any 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; 9. any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged; 10. any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or 11. 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.

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