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Texas Governor Greg Abbott Issues Statewide Face Mask Requirement Following Coronavirus Spike
AUSTIN, TX - MAY 18: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Abbott said that childcare facilities, youth camps, some professional sports, and bars may now begin to fully or partially reopen their facilities as outlined by regulations listed on the Open Texas website.
Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a new executive order on Thursday mandating that Texans must wear a face covering when they are out in public in counties that have 20 or more confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

The order stated that everyone in the state must wear a mask that covers their 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.”

Abbott’s decision comes as the state has started to see a spike in recent days, including nearly 8,000 new cases on Thursday alone.

Abbott used graphs while speaking at a press conference, saying, “As you can tell in the last half of May, Texas averaged about 1500 positive cases a day. This past week, that number quadrupled to more than 6,000 positive cases a day.”

“Next is a graph showing the rise in the positivity rate, the positivity rate surged from 4.5% in late May to more than 14% today,” Abbott continued. “Last is a graph showing the rise in hospitalizations. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 averaged less than 1700 a day in the last part of May. This past week that number tripled to more than 5,700 hospitalizations a day.

Abbott conclude, “Importantly, these spikes are not limited to just the big cities. More than 91 counties have hit record high numbers in just the past three days all together. These numbers reveal a very stark reality. COVID-19 is not going away, in fact, it’s getting worse. Now more than ever action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID-19.”

“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,” Abbott later said in a press statement. “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,” Abbott continued. “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. 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.”

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