Executive Order GA-36 prohibits government entities in Texas from requiring or mandating mask wearing; this includes counties, cities, public health authorities and government officials in addition to school districts, according to the release.
While Abbott's previous Executive Order GA-34 issued March 2 stated no jurisdiction can require a person to wear a face covering, local governments imposing a mask mandate beginning May 21 can be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, Executive Order GA-36 reads.
"The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities," Abbott said in the release. "Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans' liberty to choose whether or not they mask up."
Multiple school districts across the state have already ended their mask mandate or announced plans to do so by early June.
Magnolia ISD was among the first in the state to lift its mask mandate April 1, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Comal ISD lifted its mask mandate in March as well. School districts such as Tomball ISD, Frisco ISD and Friendswood ISD have previously announced plans to end the face mask requirement before the June 4 date while Houston ISD, for example, stated May 13 mask mandates would remain in place for the time being for facilities and campuses, Community Impact Newspaper reported. Fort Bend ISD previously said masks would continue to be required for the 2021-22 school year.
Abbott's order issued May 18 does not apply to state-supported living centers, government-owned or -operated hospitals, Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities, Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities, and county and municipal jails, according to the release.