Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican and ally of US President Donald Trump, on Thursday issued an executive order requiring face coverings in public spaces as the state marks record numbers of new infections.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, and violators could face up to $250 in fines.
In fact, it's been many, many days since this pandemic kicked off, and on quite a few of those days, the governor minimized the importance of wearing a mask by, for instance, overriding local authorities' attempts to require it.
The governor added that "wearing a face-covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of" the virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, while keeping Texas businesses open.
'COVID-19 is not going away. Last month, in a television interview, he said that while businesses could be ordered to require masks, "We want to make sure individual liberty is not infringed upon by government, and hence government cannot require individuals to wear masks". The governor made it mandatory, with some exceptions, that residents can't be in groups larger than 10 and must keep 6 feet of social distancing.
According to the executive order issued by Abbott late Thursday (July 2), the measure was put in place because of the recent considerable rise in COVID-19 positive cases, as well as the increase in the coronavirus positivity rate and hospitalizations resulting from the infection.
Abbott also issued a proclamation that allows mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people. Restricting the size of group gatherings will strengthen Texas' ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. In Dallas County, health officials reported 708 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, a new single-day record for the county. The governor's order comes after the state chose to ban standalone bars from serving customers alcohol in an attempt to prevent the rise of COVID-19 cases. The state ranks 42nd in coronavirus testing per capita.