The state of Texas has finally mandated that its citizens must wear face masks. This after the US’s biggest territory recorded a monumental 8,000 new cases on Wednesday.
State governor, Greg Abbott finally conceded defeat after, much like the rest of the United States, he took a hard-line on coronavirus restrictions.
“Covid-19 is not going away,” Mr Abbott, a Republican, said on Thursday, as reported by BBC. “In fact it’s getting worse”.
Leading the re-opening
Texas led the United States in the countries endeavours to loosen restrictions intended to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. Gov. Abbott allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire at the end of April, while most businesses were operating at half-capacity by early June.
However, as cases rose, Abbott backtracked and ordered all bars to close while restaurants were made to cut back operating capacity by 70-75%. However, he avoided issuing a state-wide order on masks. He has now changed his tune by saying that masks are necessary for businesses to continue operating.
“Wearing a face covering will help us to keep Texas open for business,” Mr Abbott said, announcing the order.
“Let me be clear: no-one can ever be put in jail for violating this safe practice,” the governor said. People will, however, pay a $250 fine as a first warning.
The state of America
The statewide directive will apply to every county with more than 20 COVID-19 cases, which is almost all of Texas’ 240 counties. America’s national figures are truly devastating with more than 2.7 million cases of coronavirus and more than 128,000 deaths.
On Thursday, Florida reported over 10,000 new cases, far higher than any European nation at the height of their outbreak. And, as Americans get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, we can expect another surge in cases. Governor Abbott emphasised how dangerous non-compliance could be.
“We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast there is little margin for error,” he added