Edinburg, Texas (KVEO)—Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday he has issued an executive order prohibiting counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities and government officials from requiring masks.
The governor mentions public schools can continue requiring masks through June 4. After that date, no student, teacher, parent or visitor can be required to wear one when on campus.
Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said in a statement he has repeatedly relied on the guidance of the CDC as well as local health experts regarding COVID.
“While I welcome the latest move by the CDC to allow vaccinated people to dispense with facial coverings in most cases, I continue to have concerns about people visiting our county health clinics,” said Cortez in a written statement. “They are there because they are ill, possibly with COVID, and facial coverings make sense. Given that, Governor Abbott’s sweeping mandate to dispense with facial coverings in all settings but hospitals is extremely worrisome.”
As part of Abbott’s order, beginning May 21, local governments and officials who attempt to require mask mandates or “impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the Executive Order,” could be fined up to $1,000.
There are a few exceptions. State-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails can still require masks. These include some of those areas hit hardest by the pandemic.