After strongly encouraging citizens for months to wear facemasks, Governor Greg Abbott has officially made the practice a requirement.
This (Thursday) afternoon, Abbott signed an executive order effective at noon tomorrow (Friday) mandating the wearing of masks in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive cases.
The order states that every person over the age of 10 shall wear a face covering when inside a commercial or public space, or when in an outdoor space that does not allow for six feet of social distancing.
Exceptions are made for those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent the wearing of masks, those who are consuming food or drink, and those who are exercising or performing physical activities outdoors while maintaining safe distance from others.
In addition, mayors and county judges have been given authority to levy restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people.
First-time violators of the order will be given a warning, followed by fines of up to $250 for continued violations. The order prohibits confinement in jail as a penalty for violation.
Abbott said the state has the ability to keep businesses open and move its economy forward, but it requires everyone to do their part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public. He said this, along with restricting the size of group gatherings, will “strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe”.