In that same interview, however, Abbott said that local governments could require stores and businesses to require masks-a statement that paved the way for San Antonio, Houston, and many other cities in Texas to enforce Abbott's mask order and compel citizens to wear masks.
"My executive order, it supersedes local orders, with regard to any type of fine or penalty for anyone not wearing a mask", he added.
"Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases", Abbott said.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order mandating all Texans wear face masks in public spaces in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases.
"We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast, there is little margin for error", Abbott said.
Texas reported its second-worst day of the pandemic with nearly 8,000 new cases and a surge in hospital admissions.
The mask order takes effect Friday and the minimum case count would cover most of the state's 254 counties and most of the population. Texas this week began its monthlong early voting period for its primary elections.
Mask orders have become a source of controversy in Texas and elsewhere in the US. Medical studies have shown that wearing a face covering slows the spread of COVID-19, and it protects you and your family.
The notice continued, "The Governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people can not be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet of social distancing from others". On June 25, Texas halted its re-opening plan.
Abbott paused his state's reopening process last week amid a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, but said, "the last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses".
He also urged his constituents to stay home when possible, but stressed that his announcement just isn't a "stay-at-home order".
The rate of people testing positive for the virus has gone from 4.5% in late May to 14%, Abbott said.
Texas's order comes as the virus continues to surge around the country, with cases rising significantly in more than 40 states, particularly in the south and west.
Texas isn't the only state reeling from a startling surge in cases.