Mask Orders %26 Requirements Local governments are prohibited from requiring people to wear masks, with some exceptions. The state order that individuals must wear masks or face coverings in most public places is no longer in effect. Regarding whether employers can continue to demand masks, the answer is clearly yes. In fact, just this morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that some of the largest retail, theater, hotel and restaurant chains in the united states operating in Texas announced that they will continue to require the use of masks.
Admittedly, it may be more difficult for companies to justify mask requirements to customers in the absence of government bans, but it seems that many companies will continue to require their employees and customers to wear masks anyway. Meanwhile, private companies remain free to demand masks, but state law prohibits them from requiring proof of vaccination. However, cruise lines operating out of Galveston require documentation of vaccinations from passengers, saying they are exempt from that rule. While the governor “strongly encouraged people to wear masks when it is “not feasible to maintain six feet of social distance from another person,” he made it clear that no Texas government entity could require a face covering, except in counties where the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 patients exceed 15% of the total capacity of the hospital.
It says that any company that violates this provision is not eligible for state contracts, and allows state agencies to enforce that subsection as a condition of obtaining a license, permit, or other state authorization necessary to conduct business in this state. Last week, Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged City Manager Spencer Cronk to enforce a vaccination requirement for city employees. Business owners will be able to decide for themselves if they are going to serve customers who do not wear masks. Ron DeSantis, is contradicting his stated commitment to deregulation and economic freedom by supporting a law that tells private companies that they cannot take the precautions against COVID-19 they deem appropriate.
Local Officials Opposing Abbott's Order Say It Exceeds Authority Under Texas Disaster Act. More than 60% of Texans support mask requirements in public places, including retail stores, schools, offices and restaurants, says new Spectrum News Ipsos survey. Although the Texas Supreme Court ruled to temporarily allow Abbott's ban on mask mandates to be maintained, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says his order for schools and businesses to require masks indoors is still in effect. The governor has previously said he should rely on individual business owners if they require masks, but Jenkins says more needs to be done to slow the spread.
Public and private entities that receive state funding are prohibited from denying people entry based on their vaccination status, but all nursing homes and housing facilities may still require vaccines for their residents. El Paso County also joins Dallas County to challenge the governor's order and issue an indoor mask requirement for businesses that goes into effect early Wednesday morning, just after midnight. The Texas Supreme Court seems to be inclined to side with Abbott in this dispute over legal interpretation. Private companies still have the right to demand masks from customers and employees, but most state and local government entities can no longer do so.