Texas is banning nearly all mask mandates

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Texas had already largely reopened for business well ahead of much of the rest of the nation. Despite claims by President Biden that Governor Greg Abbott was engaging in “Neanderthal thinking,” the sky failed to fall and the Lone Star State is recording some of its lowest infection and hospitalization rates since the start of the pandemic. With all that in mind, Abbott is now going to turn the dial up to eleven and give any of his citizens who wish to return to something resembling normalcy the chance to do so. Starting in the next week or so, governmental mask mandates will be forbidden across the state in all but a few locations and settings. Local, county and municipal governments will have to terminate all mask mandates by Friday. Schools will be allowed to keep their mandates in place until the end of the school year in the beginning of June, but after that, no mandates will be allowed or enforced. (Daily Wire)

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order on Tuesday that will ban local governments and schools from requiring face masks…

The order goes on to state that public schools may continue adhering to current mask policies until June 4, at which point the Texas Education Agency will change its guidance so that “no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor may be required to wear a face covering.”

Local governments are also required to end their mask mandates by May 21 and any governments that continue to require mask-wearing could face a fine up to $1,000.

There are exceptions in the order and they cover the places you would probably expect to be treading more carefully. State-funded nursing homes, along with state-owned or operated hospitals will be allowed to require face coverings in appropriate circumstances. Also, prisons and jails will be able to do so because of the crowded conditions sometimes seen in those facilities. But aside from that, the government will not be forcing anyone to wear a face mask anywhere.

Let’s be clear about one thing that seems to frequently be incorrectly claimed on social media. Governor Abbott is not banning face masks. He clearly states that if you want to keep wearing a mask you can do so until the cows come home. But in what is the essence of small-government conservatism, Abbot wants Texans to be able to make up their own minds when it comes to their personal health decisions.

That doesn’t mean you should throw out all of your masks immediately, however. Abbott doesn’t appear ready to tell private sector businesses how to handle their affairs, so some stores and other public venues may still require face masks. Also, if you’re going to the airport, you’re still going to need a mask before you can get on a plane.

What I expect to see is some sort of balance emerging as consumers vote with their wallets and their feet. I don’t live in Texas (yet), but I’ve already started looking around for stores that aren’t requiring face masks for vaccinated patrons and will be taking my business to them from here on out. If enough people adopt that attitude, some of the more skittish store owners and managers may start rethinking their mask policies. And let’s face it. This has gone on long enough. It’s time to get back to normal and a population of people being forced by their government to cover their faces in public is not normal.