HOUSTON, May 18 (Xinhua) -- US Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday prohibited governmental entities in the state from requiring or mandating mask wearing.
The order said that Texas public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4. After June 4, no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor can be required to wear a mask while on campus.
Beginning on Friday, local governments or officials that attempt to impose a mask mandate or impose a limitation inconsistent or conflicting with the executive order can be subject to a fine of up to 1,000 US dollars, according to a release from the governor's office.
"Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans' liberty to choose whether or not they mask up," said Abbott.
Exempt from the order are state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails.
In response to the executive order, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called it "a clear overreach."
"If you are a city of Houston employee or entering a city facility and you have not been fully vaccinated, you should wear your mask. We are not mandating it, but I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their family, and their co-workers," Turner said.
Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate in March. Since then, the decision to require masks or not has been left to individual businesses and public entities.