AUSTIN ~ Governor Greg Abbott is mandating use of a face covering in Texas when inside a commercial building or other space open to the public or when in an outdoor public space where social distancing is problematic. The Governor also lowered the limit on public gatherings from 100 to 10.
The new order, effective 12:01 a.m., July 3, reads in part:
Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household; provided, however, that this face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:
- any person younger than 10 years of age;
- any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink;
- any person while the person is (a) exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and (b) maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household;
- any person while the person is driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver;
- any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;
- any person while the person is in a swimming 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 face covering is strongly encouraged;
- any person who is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged;
- any person while the person is giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience; or
- any person in a county (a) that meets the requisite criteria promulgated by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding minimal cases of COVID-19, and (b) whose county judge has affirmatively opted-out of this face-covering requirement by filing with TDEM the required face-covering attestation form—provided, however, that wearing a face covering is highly recommended, and every county is strongly encouraged to follow these face-covering standards.
Not excepted from this face-covering requirement is any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people and who is not practicing safe social distancing of six feet from other people not in the same household. TDEM shall maintain on its website a list of counties that are not subject to this face-covering requirement pursuant to paragraph number 11. The list can be found at: www.tdem.texas.gov/ga29.