Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is under fire after signing a wide-ranging COVID-19 executive order Thursday that bans any mask or vaccine mandates, bans anyone requesting or requiring proof of vaccination to obtain goods or services, but promotes "personal responsibility" as the means to control what is quickly becoming a new Delta variant-fueled wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the CDC Texas has had over 47,000 new COVID cases and 240 new COVID deaths in the past seven days, with a huge 15%-19.9% positivity rate. Since the start of the pandemic Texas has, under Governor Abbott's leadership, seen nearly 3.1 million coronavirus cases and almost 52,000 deaths. Texas reports just 52% of its population 12 and older has been vaccinated.
Abbott's executive order says, "There are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment," and "no person may he required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of a face covering."
"Texans are strongly encouraged as a matter of personal responsibility to consistently follow good hygiene, social-distancing. and other mitigation practices," and vaccines "will never be mandated by the government," although "it is strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one."
The order also overrides and voids any "COVID-19-related limitations imposed by local governmental entities or officials."
One local Texas NBC affiliate reports, "Abbott pushes personal responsibility over government mandates as pandemic surges."
Here's what some Texans are saying:
For months, Governor Abbott has been clear: He believes that everyone has the right to infect, but that our schools and local governments must be denied the right to take important steps to protect neighbors from infection.
— Lloyd Doggett (@RepLloydDoggett) July 29, 2021
What are Governor Abbott and Dan Patrick doing to get Texans vaccinated?
Everyday, they seem to be working overtime to thwart any effort to end this pandemic. Texans are dying and our economy is suffering from the lack of vaccinations. I just don't get it. https://t.co/g5k7WquVoA — Mike Collier (@CollierForTexas) July 29, 2021
Abbott already had taken away cities' & counties' ability to enact & enforce mask mandates
Now Abbott's taken away the power to put restrictions on businesses, the other big tool he and local officials previously used to curb the spread of the virus — Joshua Fechter 📝 (@JFreports) July 29, 2021
We're going to do worse than nothing in TX. Cruz has already come out against masking and Abbott has done nothing helpful either as of late. They're creating and fostering distrust. The distrust will lead to deaths :(
— Elizabeth - MS4 (@DrEToBe) July 29, 2021
“Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19"
YOU HAVE PROVEN YOU DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT TEXANS.@GregAbbott_TX bm Why the fuck do you think cases are increasing CDC GUIDELINES - #s DECREASE ABBOTT TRUMPER - #s INCREASE — Raziel McAllen (@razielmcallen) July 29, 2021
Greg Abbott out there slicing sandbags before the storm.
— Richard Whittaker (@YorkshireTX) July 29, 2021
Abbott: As hospitalization and positivity rates skyrocket, we can see that Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Big lie 2.0.
— SB Jones (@sarahbjones) July 29, 2021
King Abbott has spoken- Texas… you're on your own.
— genevieve (@genvc) July 29, 2021