On Thursday, July 2, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring all Texans residing in counties with more than 20 cases to wear a face mask while in a commercial space or public buildings or when in an outdoor setting that does not allow for 6 feet of physical distancing. The order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. on July 3.
According to the order: "Following a verbal or written warning for a first-time violator of this face covering requirement, a person’s second violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250. Each subsequent violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $250 per violation. Local law enforcement can enforce this executive order, but no law enforcement or other official may detain, arrest, or confine in jail any person for a violation of this executive order or for related non-violent, non-felony offenses that are predicated on a violation of this executive order; provided, however, that any official with authority to enforce this executive order may act to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner. This executive order hereby prohibits confinement in jail as a penalty for the violation of any face-covering order by any jurisdiction.”
To view the governor’s order:
Exceptions to the order include:
• Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
• Any person consuming food or drink or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
• Any person that is exercising or engaging in physical activities outdoors or is maintaining safe social distancing from people who are not part of their household
• Any person who is driving alone or with passengers who are in the same household as the driver
• Any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the covering during security surveillance, screening or need for specific access to the face (like while visiting a bank or obtaining personal care involving the face).
• Any person in a pool, lake or similar body of water
• Any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher or actively administering an election (but wearing a mask is strongly encouraged)
• Any person who is actively providing access to religious worship (but wearing a mask is strongly encouraged)
• Any person while the person is giving a speech for broadcast or to an audience
• Any person who meets the criteria laid out by the Texas Division of Emergency Management regarding minimal cases of COVID-19 and whose county judge has opted out of the face-covering requirement (but wearing a mask is strongly encouraged)