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Texas Gov. Abbott issues statewide order requiring face masks

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an order on Thursday requiring all Texans residing in counties with 20 or more cases to wear a face mask while in a commercial space or public buildings.

The order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. on July 3.

The move comes after weeks of surging daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalization in Texas. 

The order doesn’t apply to anyone 10 years old or younger, individuals with health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask or someone who is consuming food or drink.

Anyone participating in outdoor activities or swimming are also excluded from the order.

Violators could face up to $250 in fines. People not wearing a face mask when required may receive a written or verbal warning for their first violation. 

“Local law enforcement and other local officials, as appropriate, can and should enforce this executive order,” according to Abbott’s order. 

In North Texas, Dallas and Tarrant counties crossed 600 single-day confirmed cases earlier in the week, and then Dallas County reported more than 700 on Thursday.

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