AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new executive order Thursday, July 29, related to COVID-19.
He said the reason was to bring "clarity and uniformity" to the state's COVID-19 response.
The new order bans any local government in the state from requiring residents to get vaccinated.
It also allows any business to continue operating at full capacity, no matter the virus' rate of spread or how many people are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Gov. Abbott released the following statement:
"Today's executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State's continued fight against COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates. Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities. Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defense against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary – never forced – in the State of Texas."
Texas Democrats are accusing Gov. Abbott of preventing local leaders from exercising their best judgment in their respective communities.
State Rep. Donna Howard of Austin, who is a former critical care nurse, said, "This is beyond inaction. This is the Governor tying the hands of health experts who are trying to keep Texans healthy as cases and hospitalizations increase.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released the following statement on the matter:
"The Governor's order is based on polling data of what Republican primary voters want to hear; conversely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations are based on the most recent data regarding the much more contagious Delta variant and what scientists and medical professionals have learned thus far to combat the spread and harm of COVID.
The Governor's order restricts school districts from requiring masks, increasing the chance another school year will be ruined for students, while also making it more difficult to stop the spread of COVID and illness for children and their families. School districts and their health advisors are the best source of information for parents regarding education practice. It is my hope that parents will work with school districts to get those eligible students age 12 and up vaccinated, and follow mask wearing recommendations within buildings.
The Governor's order also restricts some hospitals from ensuring their staff is vaccinated against COVID. No one wants a loved one in the hospital unnecessarily infected with COVID. It is my hope that hospital staff who have not yet been vaccinated will consider the fact that 200 million Americans have already been vaccinated and work with their administrators to get their vaccine so that hospitalized people will have their best chance of not contracting COVID from hospital employees and contractors. My advice remains the same: to win the war against COVID we must follow the science and listen to the experts, not the politicians."
READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER HERE
for more features.