WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Gov. Greg Abbott, R–Texas, announced an executive order that requires all Texans to wear face coverings in public spaced in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases.
The order also states mayors and county judges can impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than 10 and must maintain 6-feet of social distancing from others.
“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,” Abbott states. “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.”
According to the New York Times, only 70 of Texas’ 254 counties do not have to wear masks as they have less than 20 total cases.
Repeated violators will receive up to $250 fines but will not receive jail time.
The executive order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. July 3, 2020, and face coverings do not apply in the following circumstances:
- any person younger than 10 years of age
- any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face-covering
- any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
- 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;
- any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
- 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
- any person while the person is in a swimming pool, lake or similar body of water
- 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
- any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face-covering is strongly encouraged
- any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience
Read the full executive order below.