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COVID-19 & Texas Law

This guide is updated to reflect information pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information in this guide is subject to change at any time.

Mask Laws


Contents

This page contains information on the following. Click the link to jump to each topic:

Statewide Mask Requirement for Individuals
There is currently a statewide order that individual people must wear masks or face coverings in most public places.
This statewide order will remain in effect until it is amended, superseded, or rescinded by the Governor.

Local Government Mask Orders for Individuals
Local governments can also issue and enforce local laws or orders that require individual people to wear masks or face coverings in public.

Local Government Requirements for Businesses
If they choose, local governments can require that businesses implement a mask-wearing policy.

Mask Policies at Stores or Businesses
Even if not required by law, businesses can require customers and/or employees to wear masks.

Disabilities & Mask Requirements
Individuals who have a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask can request a reasonable accommodation to a mask policy at work or when obtaining service at a businesses.

Masks and Weapons
We have not been able to locate any laws that would prevent a person from carrying a weapon while wearing a mask in Texas. Please see our FAQ “Can I carry a weapon while wearing a mask?” for more information.

Masks at Schools
TEA has issued guidance for schools to bring them into compliance with the statewide mask order.

Statewide Mask Requirement for Individuals

Executive Order GA-29

Effective July 3rd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a statewide executive order that states:

Every person in Texas shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household;

Exceptions

Note: The text below is paraphrased, see GA-29 [PDF] for exact wording.

The following people are exempt from the rule:

Masks are not required when participating in the following activities:

But the mask requirement does apply while:

Penalties

Note: The text below is paraphrased, see GA-29 [PDF] for exact wording.

Penalties for not complying with this order:

A person may not be detained, arrested, or confined in jail for refusing to adhere to this order. However, law enforcement may consider someone who refuses to leave the premises a trespasser and may enforce trespassing laws accordingly.

Enforcement

According to GA-29 [PDF], local law enforcement and other local officials are responsible for enforcement of the statewide mask order. In many places you can call 3-1-1 or the police non-emergency line to make a report, but check your city or county's website to be sure. Search for your city's website or county's website.

Time Frame

This Executive Order will remain in effect until the Governor rescinds it. Alternatively, the Governor could issue another order that would amend or supersede this order. See GA-29 [PDF], page 3.

Local Government Mask Orders for Individuals

Local Governments Can Require Individuals to Wear Masks

Because GA-29 removed language from previous executive orders that prohibited local governments from requiring individual people to wear masks, local governments may now issue mask requirements that run parallel to the state-wide order. These local requirements can act as additional enforcement tools for local governments.

Some of these local orders contain the potential for larger fines or other enhanced punishments as compared to the state-wide order. It remains unclear whether or not a city or county could issue a fine or other punishment in excess of what is prescribed in the Governor's executive order.

Enforcement

In many places you can call 3-1-1 or the police non-emergency line, but check your city or county's website to be sure. Search for your city's website or county's website

Local Government Requirements for Businesses

Local Governments Can Require Businesses to Have a Mask Policy

During an interview with KWTX on June 17th, the governor confirmed that "his COVID-19 plan does allow local governments to require stores and businesses to require customers to wear masks."

Check your city or county's website to find out if there is a requirement in place for businesses in your area.

Enforcement

If your city or county is requiring that businesses implement a mask policy and you want to report a business for not having a policy, you should contact your local government. In many places you can call 3-1-1 or the police non-emergency line, but check your city or county's website to be sure. Search for your city's website or county's website

Mask Policies at Stores or Businesses

Policies for Customers

In an article published June 17th, the Texas Tribune quotes Governor Abbott as saying, “Businesses … they’ve always had the opportunity and the ability, just like they can require people to wear shoes and shirts, these businesses can require people to wear face masks if they come into their businesses.”

Policies for Employees

According to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (see FAQ G.2) an employer can require employees to wear protective gear (such as face coverings or gloves). Employees may make a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (such as a modified mask that can be worn with a religious head covering). Employers should provide the modification or an alternative modification unless it would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.

Disabilities & Mask Requirements

If you want to know whether you should avoid wearing a mask due to your disability or medical condition, you should consult with your doctor. People with certain disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to face mask policies under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability laws.

Masks and Weapons

We have been unable to locate a Texas law that would prevent someone from carrying a gun or other weapon while wearing a mask or other face covering.

Masks at Schools

Effective June 3rd, the Governor has mandated that masks be worn in most public places. The order does not apply to those who are younger than 10 years old. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has issued guidance for schools to bring them into compliance with the statewide order.

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