Governor Greg Abbott is banning Texas cities, counties, and public schools from instituting their own mask mandates, according to a Tuesday announcement.
Starting on Friday, any local or county government entity that tries to require masks in Texas will be fined up to $1,000.
“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 said in a release. “We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”
Under the new executive order, public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4.
Also exempt from the order is the city of Austin. The state sued Austin after city leaders refused to lift the local mask mandate, but a judge ruled that Austin could keep the local mandate.
Masks will still be required at state-supported living centers, hospitals, jails, and juvenile facilities.
Abbott's announcement came just days after Texas reported 0 COVID-19 related deaths for the first time in 14 months.
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