Abbott issues statewide mask requirement, limits gatherings

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order requiring the use of face masks in public places and is giving local official authority to limit gatherings.

Governor Greg Abbott today issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10 percent, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.

The order includes the following:

• All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12 p.m.  today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

• Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50 percent of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.

• Rafting and tubing businesses must close.

• Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

“As I said from the start, if the positivity rate rose above 10%, the State of Texas would take further action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Abbott. “At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health. We want this to be as limited in duration as possible. However, we can only slow the spread if everyone in Texas does their part. Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay six feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can. I know that our collective action can lead to a reduction in the spread of COVID-19 because we have done it before, and we will do it again.”

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