Republican Gov. of Texas Greg Abbott signed an executive order Thursday that could lead to cities being fined for implementing mask mandates.
The order states that government entities will be fined up to $1,000 for requiring masks, while government agencies, public entities and private entities that receive public funding will be forbidden from demanding proof of vaccination to provide services.
“The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates,” Abbott said in a statement Thursday.
“Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities,” Abbott added.
Government entities also cannot “compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization,” but it does not prevent nursing homes or living facilities from mandating inoculations, The Hill reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for vaccinated Americans on Tuesday, advising anyone in an area of high transmission to wear masks due to the transmissibility of the delta variant.
“In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public, indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters Tuesday.
The CDC also recommended all children in grades K-12 wear masks in the fall, even if fully vaccinated, though eight states have already banned schools from requiring masks or vaccinations, Forbes reported.