Coronavirus: Texas governor orders all residents to wear face coverings

Coronavirus: Texas governor orders all residents to wear face coverings
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order Thursday that requires residents to wear face coverings. (Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday that requires all residents in the state to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth in public spaces.

The order applies to residents of counties that have more than 20 positive cases of the coronavirus, KXAN reported.

Restrictions on outdoor gatherings are also part of Abbott’s order, as no more than 10 people can get together, the television station reported. There are exceptions, as groups of more than 10 people can gather if they maintain six feet of social distancing.

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The order goes into effect Friday, WFAA reported. It does not apply to anyone 10 years old or younger, people with health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, or someone who is consuming food or drink, the television station reported.

Abbott said first-time violators will be issued a warning. People violating the order for a second time will be fined $250, KTRK reported.

Abbott’s order comes a day after Texas reported 8,076 new cases of COVID-19, the highest one-day total in the state since the pandemic began, the television station reported.

“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,l” Abbott said. “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.”