HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday that provides “clarity and uniformity” regarding the state’s COVID-19 response.
The executive order ensures that vaccines are voluntary for all Texans, and state agencies, political subdivisions may not require anyone to show proof they received a COVID-19 vaccine. Any entity that received funds through any public money can’t require proof of vaccination.
“Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas,” Abbott said in a statement.
Abbott’s order states that there are no COVID-19 restrictions for any business, and in areas where the transmission rate is high, people are “encouraged to follow safe practices they have already mastered.”
Nursing homes, state-supported living centers, and assisted living facilities should minimize staff move between facilities, follow infection protocols set by Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
Failure to comply with the state emergency management plan can be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.
Public schools should operate under minimum standard protocols issued by the Texas Education Agency, and private schools are encouraged to do the same.
Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities.Abbott said in a statement.
When it comes to mask-wearing, the order stated that no county, city, school district, or public health authority may require people to wear a face covering. However, state-supported living centers, government-owned hospitals, and government-operated hospitals may continue to use mask-wearing policies.
For county and municipal jails, they should stay consistent with the Texas Commission on Jail standards guidance and continue mask-wearing policies.
Abbott suspended “all relevant laws to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not confine people in jail for violating an executive order or local order issued in response to the COVID-19 disaster.”
To read the full executive order, click here.