Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order Thursday for Texans to wear face coverings in public spaces in most areas of the state, strolling again prior statements on necessary masks laws.
The order, efficient at midday Friday, requires all Texas residents in counties with 20 or extra COVID-19 circumstances to put on masks when “it isn’t possible to take care of six ft of social distancing from one other individual not in the identical family.” Exceptions embody kids youthful than 10, folks consuming and exercising outdoor, people affected by medical circumstances that stop them from carrying a masks and folks driving alone.
“Not excepted from this face masking requirement is any individual attending a protest or demonstration involving greater than 10 folks,” a provision within the order reads.
First-time violators of the order can be issued a warning, and additional violations could lead to punishments not exceeding $250. The order stresses that individuals can’t be jailed for not carrying a masks.
In a video accompanying the order, Abbott addressed Texas’s recent spike in COVID-19 cases, telling viewers that the virus was not going away and though carrying a masks may not be “the handy factor to do,” medical research indicated that it “slows the unfold of COVID-19 and it protects you and your loved ones.”
“This requirement is just not meant to be punitive,” Abbott stated, even holding up a masks emblazoned with the Texas flag at one level. “As an alternative, we simply want everybody to do their half to gradual the unfold. … If we need to keep away from lockdowns, if we need to defend these we care about, we want all Texans to affix this effort. We’ve slowed the unfold earlier than. Working collectively, we are going to do it once more.”
Abbott’s order is a marked reversal from the governor’s earlier feedback on masks, the place he stated he didn’t believe in mandatory mask regulations and that it was “improper to deprive somebody of their liberty simply because they’re not carrying a masks.”
The order comes every week after Abbott “paused” Texas’s reopening due to surging COVID-19 numbers and confused that the state authorities can be “centered on methods that gradual the unfold of this virus whereas additionally permitting Texans to proceed incomes a paycheck to help their households.”
On Wednesday, Texas reported 8,076 new COVID-19 cases ― the best single-day complete within the state for the reason that begin of the coronavirus pandemic.
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