Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Tuesday that prohibits local governments and public schools from enforcing mask mandates. Texas is the latest state to issue a masking rule ban.
“The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities. Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities,” Abbott declared in a statement. “We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”
Texas follows Florida and South Carolina in prohibiting a mask mandate. According to the Florida Department of Education, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ May 3 executive order does not apply to public schools, only to local governments. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s May 11 executive order applies to both schools and local governments. DeSantis also suspended local pandemic restrictions and he is reportedly going to grant pardons to those prosecuted for them.
Any governmental outfit or official who tries to mandate wearing masks could potentially be fined $1,000 starting Friday. The order takes effect for schools on June 4, the day after the official school year ends. “State-supported living centers,” government-owned or run hospitals, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, prisons, and jails are reportedly exempt from the ban.
(Video Credit: KVUE)
“Anybody can wear a mask if they want to. It’s just that it’s a decision to be made by Texans, not to be forced by government,” Abbott remarked during an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
Abbott also wrote on Twitter: “TX is prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities. Starting May 21, local govts attempting to impose mask mandates can be fined up to $1K. We’re also prohibiting public schools from mandating masks after June 4. Texans, not gov’t, should decide their best health practices.”
TX is prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities.
Starting May 21, local govts attempting to impose mask mandates can be fined up to $1K.
We're also prohibiting public schools from mandating masks after June 4.
Texans, not gov’t, should decide their best health practices. pic.twitter.com/M7iN4sLBJV
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 18, 2021
In early March, Governor Abbott put Texas on the map by lifting statewide COVID restrictions, ending the state’s mask mandate, and allowing businesses to fully open up once again. On Sunday, for the first time in two years, Texas recorded zero coronavirus deaths proving leftists who warned of doom wrong.
The Texan’s moves to normalize life in the Lonestar State were branded by President Biden as “Neanderthal thinking.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines last week. They proclaimed it was safe for fully vaccinated people to go maskless in any type of normal gathering inside or out.
Large retail outlets such as Walmart and Costco have now lifted their indoor mask mandates.
The Dallas Independent School District tweeted Tuesday afternoon that they were still urging people to wear masks inside school buildings as an added precaution:
— Dallas ISD (@dallasschools) May 18, 2021
Teachers’ unions are also pushing back against Abbott’s executive order. Dallas’ largest teacher union, Alliance-AFT, claimed the news made many of its teachers nervous: “There’s still a fear that the younger students, and those that are older ones that have not received the vaccination yet, could be carriers and they could spread it. They could still take it home to their families,” said union President Rena Honea.
The Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina issued a statement for the union:
The Texas State Teachers Association believes Gov. Greg Abbott’s order ending all masking requirements in Texas public schools, effective June 4, is premature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that schools require masks and social distancing for the remainder of the school year because many students have not been vaccinated and will not complete their two-dose regimen of Pfizer vaccines until well into the summer. And many of these children will be attending in-person summer school.
FDA approval for vaccinating children aged 12-15 was issued only last week, and there has been no approval for vaccinating children younger than 12.
The governor should have waited until the CDC issues new mask guidelines for the 2021-22 school year before acting on masking requirements in public schools. We know some school districts already have ended their mask mandates, and we believe that also is ill-advised. The health and safety of our students, educators and communities must remain our first priority as we attempt to emerge from this pandemic.
Under Abbott’s executive order, he is the only one who can impose any mask mandate now.
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