TEXAS schools may be fined $1,000 if they have a mask mandate, after Governor Greg Abbott bans Covid rules in an executive order.
Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday banning local government officials from requiring mask-wearing.
Public schools could continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4, the order said.
But after June 4, no student, teacher, parents, or other staff member or visitor could be required to wear a mask while on campus.
Fines could be handed out before this date, to local governments or officials that attempt to impose a mask mandate.
Governor Abbott said: “The Lone Star State continues to defeat Covid-19 through the use of widely-available vaccines, antibody drugs and safe practices utilised by Texans in our communities”.
“Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities.”
Abbott said the state could continue to battle Covid-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.
Several organizations were exempt from the order.
These included state-supported living centers, government-owned or operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities and Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, as well as county and municipal jails.
Back in March, President Biden slammed the plans to end mandatory face masks in Texas, as well as in Mississippi, and blasted governors for "Neanderthal thinking."
"I think it's a big mistake," Biden told reporters during a Covid briefing on March 1, when asked about restrictions being lifted in Mississippi and Texas.
"I hope everybody's realized by now these masks make a difference," he added, according to The Hill.
"We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way we're able to get vaccines in people's arms."
He continued: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it," he said. "It still matters."
"We will not have everybody vaccinated until sometime in the summer."
Biden said people should continue wearing masks, washing their hands, and distancing themselves from others as vaccines are rolled out.
Texas has 29 million people spread over a vast area with open borders to the rest of the USA.
However, Abbott has claimed vaccinations and improved treatment means he can end a state-wide face mask mandate after eight months.
The decision brought him into conflict with health officials, who said the US is at a precarious moment in the pandemic.
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned of a "potential fourth surge of cases" if the country lapsed into complacency.
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