Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday night prohibiting vaccination and mask mandates at agencies and businesses that receive funds from the state. The order also forbids local governments in Texas from mandating masks or imposing restrictions on daily life to curb coronavirus infections. Abbott’s order comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reinstated the recommendation that people in areas with high transmission rates wear masks, even if they are vaccinated, and as President Joe Biden ordered all federal employees to either be vaccinated or submit to strict protocols. Abbott said in a statement, “The new Executive Order emphasizes that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates… 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.” Coronavirus cases across the country are surging as vaccination rates sag and the more transmissible delta variant spreads, including in Texas.
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