Texas governor orders masks to be worn in public as coronavirus cases surge

Coronavirus

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (Photo by Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas (KEVO/AP) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order requiring all Texans to wear face coverings in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases.

The order requires that all Texans wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces, with a few exceptions.

He also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people. As well as making it mandatory for people to maintain six feet of social distancing.

The proclamation takes effect on July 3.

“Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19, We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another—and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces.

Likewise, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Restricting the size of groups gatherings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.

If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said last week that he had no plans to implement a statewide order making masks mandatory.

“I think it’s something – we provide education, we did an advisory at the beginning of May and we’ve advised that that’s something that could make an impact,” DeSantis said. “But at the same time, to do police and put criminal penalties on that, is something that would probably backfire.”

Florida lawmakers and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried have called for a statewide mask order. Without it, some counties and cities in the Tampa Bay area have implemented their own mandates.

“They’re going to figure out how they’re going to use the long arm of the law to enforce it or not,” DeSantis said of the communities with mandates. “A lot of businesses will require it when you’re going in and that’s fine as well.”

The governor said the bottom line is, he’s trusting Floridians to be responsible and make good decisions. But one reporter pointed out during the news conference that hours earlier, the state announced it would be suspending alcohol consumption at Florida bars due to “widespread non-compliance” with guidelines.

This is a developing story stick with WFLA for updates

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