Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Abbott bans mask mandates from government entities, public schools

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday that bans government entities from requiring masks starting Friday, and after June 4, masks won’t be mandated at any public school campuses.

Starting Friday, any government entity — such as local towns, cities and counties — that tries to impose a mask mandate can face a fine of up to $1,000, according to the order. The order exempts 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, the Texas Tribune reported. Many southern Denton County towns require masks in their facilities.

After Abbott ended the statewide mask requirement in early March, school systems were allowed to continue with their own mask-wearing policies unchanged. But after June 4, “no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor may be required to wear a face covering,” according to Abbott’s new order.

Most children are unvaccinated. Only one vaccine, the Pfizer one, is authorized for children as young as 12, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for people 18 and older.

Argyle ISD made masks optional last week. Lewisville ISD announced last week that it would end its mask mandate on June 21, but that date will have to be moved up to follow Abbott’s order. Northwest ISD and Denton ISD still require masks and had not yet announced plans to end their mask requirements.

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Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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