Texas governor won’t order mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases rise

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he won’t order mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases rise. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Caption
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he won’t order mask mandate even as COVID-19 cases rise. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Credit: Eric Gay

Credit: Eric Gay

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he will not impose another mask mandate in his state despite the rise in COVID-19 cases around the country.

“There will be no mask mandate imposed, and the reasons for that are very clear,” Abbott told KPRC in an interview on Tuesday. “There are so many people who have immunities to COVID-19, whether it be through the vaccination, whether it be through their own exposure and their recovery from it, which would be acquired immunity.”

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The governor said instead he’s working with local officials to ensure that supplies are available for those who choose to get the vaccine.

“It would be inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask,” Abbott said. “There’s no more time for government mandates. This is time for individual responsibility, period.”

Abbott stated that the people who are “most in danger” of losing their lives or getting ill, people aged 65 or older, are getting the vaccine. He noted, “It’s only the younger cohort that are just now becoming to the age of vaccination that have not yet received a shot.”

Nearly 75% of Texans in that age range are fully vaccinated and about 82% are partially vaccinated, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

He added that he expects a rise in vaccinations among children and teachers now that the delta variant is making more people sick, but won’t be enforcing them to wear masks when school starts in the fall.

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“What we do anticipate is that as kids are approaching the beginning of school, and with the delta variant increasing you probably will see an increase in the number of parents choosing to have the child vaccinated, as well as, the increase in teachers who have not yet been vaccinated, probably going out and getting a vaccination.”

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order in May that restricts Georgia’s public school districts from mandating that students and employees wear masks, though the order does not ban school mask mandates outright.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on “CBS This Morning” that he suggests parents follow the new COVID-19 guidance for mask-wearing issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy recommends schools require face masks for children older than 2 and all adults regardless of vaccination status.

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That guidance differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that only unvaccinated children and adults wear masks in schools.