Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs executive order preventing mask and COVID-19 ...

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs executive order preventing mask and COVID-19 ...
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs executive order preventing mask and COVID-19 ...

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday night preventing mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates to promote 'individual right and responsibility' in the Lone Star State.

Abbott, 63, announced the executive order in a press release just hours after President Joe Biden called on states to do more to incentivize vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stepped up mask and vaccination recommendations this week amid the worrying surge of the Delta variant - which some doctors have called the 'pandemic of the unvaccinated.'

'Today's executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State's continued fight against COVID-19,' Abbott said. 

'The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates.'

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday night preventing mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday night preventing mask and COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Abbott, 63, announced the executive order in a press release just hours after President Joe Biden called on states to do more to incentivize vaccination

Abbott, 63, announced the executive order in a press release just hours after President Joe Biden called on states to do more to incentivize vaccination

A person holds a sign to protest at Houston Methodist Hospital in Baytown in June after a policy that says hospital employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs

A person holds a sign to protest at Houston Methodist Hospital in Baytown in June after a policy that says hospital employees must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or lose their jobs

John Kirkconnell is pictured as he receives his dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a city-run popup vaccine clinic on Wednesday in Brownsville, Texas

John Kirkconnell is pictured as he receives his dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a city-run popup vaccine clinic on Wednesday in Brownsville, Texas

The Republican governor said that Texans 'have mastered the safe practices' that prevent the spread of COVID-19, even as the state reported 6,347 new cases on Thursday.

The Texas Health and Human Services data also shows 1,876 'possible cases' on Thursday, with 39 new deaths attributed to COVID-19.

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The data shows that the two largest demographics of deaths in Texas  are white, 35 percent, and Hispanic - 36 percent. There have been a total of 2,628,438 confirmed cases in the Lone Star State and 51,984 deaths since the pandemic began.

'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.

He added: '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.'

The executive order declared that 'no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.'

It declared that state agencies could not require proof of vaccination, or so-called 'vaccine passports,' from people entering a place of business or receiving services. 

Any public or private entity that receives state funds has also been ordered not to require proof of vaccination or deny people entry for not providing proof.  

Abbott also banned companies, state and local agencies - including school districts - from requiring patrons to wear masks. He also prevented local governments and entities from imposing their own restrictions on masks within their jurisdictions. 

Local governmental entities that impose directives that conflict with Abbott's orders can face fines up to $1,000. 

The executive order declared that 'no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine' or compel people to provide proof of vaccination

The executive order declared that 'no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine' or compel people to provide proof of vaccination

The orders stand in stark opposition to new CDC guidelines - effectively ordering all businesses, local governments and schools not to comply with federal recommendations.

The CDC said on Tuesday that anyone walking into a school should wear masks and that even vaccinated people should wear them again indoors in public spaces in regions 'with substantial and high transmission.'

Substantial transmission areas are defined as having 50-99 new infections for every 100,000 people over a seven-day period - while high transmission areas have 100 or more new infections per 100,000. 

More than 200 of the 254 counties in Texas are in such categories, the Texas Tribune noted.

The Texas State Teachers Association sent a letter to Abbott on Tuesday requesting he let local school districts set their own mask mandates. 

'Educators are eager to return to the classroom, but the pandemic is still dangerous,' said Ovidia Molina, the association's president. 

A map shows the total number of coronavirus deaths and cases in the United States

A map shows the total number of coronavirus deaths and cases in the United States

A map shows the percentages of states that have received vaccinations so far

A map shows the percentages of states that have received vaccinations so far

A chart shows the number of vaccinations given in the United States per vaccine type

A chart shows the number of vaccinations given in the United States per vaccine type

A graph shows the average vs cumulative number of vaccinations in the United States

A graph shows the average vs cumulative number of vaccinations in the United States

A graph shows shows the daily number of COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States

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