AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order prohibiting governmental entities in Texas from requiring or mandating the wearing of masks. Entities include counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials.
Beginning May 21, local governments or officials that attempt to impose a mask mandate or impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the Executive Order can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
Public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4 but after June 4, no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor can be required to wear a mask while on campus.
"The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities," said Governor Abbott in a news release. "Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans' liberty to choose whether or not they mask up."
Officials say those exempted from the Executive Order are state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.
The governor's announcement came as officials announced that Austin-Travis County is moving to Stage 2 of APH's COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.