Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday issued an executive order restricting the ability of local governments to set business capacity limits or require face masks or vaccines.
The new order, which overrides previous orders, states that governmental entities cannot “compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” The order also says that they cannot mandate masks or set COVID-19 related operating limits for any business or other establishment, even if a region’s COVID-19 hospitalizations exceed 15 percent of total hospital capacity.
In addition, the order says any public or private entity that receives public funds through any means cannot require consumers to show proof of vaccination in order to receive services.
Abbott said the order is meant to “provide clarity and uniformity in Texas’ COVID-19 response” and “emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates.” He also said Texans have “mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19.”
On Wednesday, Texas confirmed 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since February 9th. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), 52.44 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.