Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a groundbreaking decision on Thursday by issuing a statewide mask order which takes effect on Friday, July 3rd.
Abbott, who had initially said the government could not order individuals to wear masks, is forced to employ all means necessary to help its overburdened healthcare system.
In May, the Republican governor pushed for an aggressive reopening of businesses in Texas. While that may have helped keep the local economy afloat, it certainly derailed government efforts to prevent the rapid and widespread transmission of the virus.
Under the order, Texans are required to wear a mask or facial covering when out in public. This requirement must also be followed anywhere physical distancing cannot be applied.
Face masks or coverings are not required when an individual is exercising alone or riding a bike. Children under 10 years old are also exempted from the order.
Abbott’s order requires “all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases, with few exceptions”.
Since May, Texas has more than quadrupled the number of its Covid-related hospitalizations. It recorded 8,076 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total in the state.
The numbers are truly alarming and this is what prodded Abbott to finally issue the mask order.
“COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, it’s getting worse,” the governor said on social media.
He said Texas is now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast, there is little margin for error.
There is $250 for violating the mask-wearing order a second time. First-time violators will be issued a warning.