Gov. Abbott issues statewide order to require face coverings

Gatherings of more than 10 people also limited

Talk 1370 Newsroom
July 02, 2020 - 3:23 pm

AUSTIN ( -- After days of mounting pressure, Texas will join the list of states requiring face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The new order goes into effect at noon on Friday, requiring face coverings in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive cases of the virus.

There are a number of exceptions to the face covering order, including:

  • Any person younger than 10 years of age
  • Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • Any person consuming food or drink, or that is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
  • Any person exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity, and maintaining a safe social distance from other people not in the same household
  • Any person driving alone, or with passengers who are in the same household as the driver
  • Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the covering for security surveillance, screening, or a personal care service
  • Any person in a swimming pool, lake, or body of water
  • Any person who is voting, assisting a voter
  • Any person providing or obtaining access to religious worship
  • Any person who is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience

Notably, the order requires those attending demonstrations and protests to wear a face covering when unable to practice safe social distancing from anyone not in the same household.

Abbott also signed a proclamation limiting gatherings of more than 10 people, with certain exceptions.

"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19," Abbott said in a statement. "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. Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. 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. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans."

The new face covering mandate carries a $250 fine for the second and subsequent violations of the order, after a written or verbal warning. The order continues to prohibit officials from using confinement in jail as an enforcement method.

The new requirements will remain in effect until rescinded by Abbott.

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