It’s official – masks are now required in the state of Texas following an executive order issued by Governor Abbott. The order mandates mask in all counties that have 20 or more positive coronavirus cases (with a few caveats).

“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,” said Governor Abbott. “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.”

The order also allows local mayors and county judges the authority to restrict some outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people, as well as making social distancing mandatory.

“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,” said the governor. “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. I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans.”

Editor’s note: Additional info on fines and exemptions have been added below.

Texans who are in violation can get a warning for first offense, followed by fines.

A few exceptions to the order include:

  • Children under 10
  • People with medical conditions or disabilities that prevents wearing
  • People eating or drinking or seated at a table at a restaurant
  • Those exercising outdoors or maintaining safe social distance
  • People driving alone or with passengers in same household
  • Person receiving service that requires temporary removal during security surveillance or screening
  • Person in pool, lake, etc.
  • Person voting
  • Person providing access to religious worship
  • Person giving speech to audience
  • Person meeting the criteria laid out by Texas Division of Emergency Management regarding minimal cases of COID-19 and whose county judge has opted out of mask requirement