Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday ordered that face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state, a dramatic ramp-up of the Republican's efforts to control spiking numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. (July 3)
GREG ABBOTT: We know this fact. And that is with the skyrocketing number of positive cases of COVID-19, with the sky rocketing record setting number of people who are hospitalized every single day in Houston, as well as around the state of Texas, with a positivity rate now of 14% of those testing positive for COVID-19, we know that we cannot continue with those metrics and continue to open up businesses in Texas. Understanding the data, working with doctors, we've learned that the best way that we can both remain open for business while also containing the spread of COVID-19 is through this strategy of requiring masks that will slow the spread.
So the goal behind the mask requirement is to ensure that we will be able to continue to open up Texas for business while also protecting the health and safety of our fellow Texans. We don't want to deny somebody the ability to go vote simply because they don't have a mask. And that's why, if you look into the depths of the order, you will see that they are not mandated for people to go vote. Because we didn't want anybody to say, well, they couldn't vote, because they didn't have a mask.
However, we know that the safest way to go vote is by wearing a mask. As we go toward opening schools, we're focusing on two things. First and foremost is the health and safety of students, teachers, parents, and anybody connected with the school setting.
The second thing is called flexibility. We want to start schools on time as scheduled, understanding the best location to do that is in the classroom itself. However, if we continue to see COVID spreading the way that it is right now, it may be necessary to employ that flexibility and use online learning.