Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday insisted he will not implement another statewide mask mandate as calls for reinstating such restrictions grow nationwide.
“There will be no mask mandate imposed, and the reasons for that are very clear,” Abbott said during a Tuesday interview.
“There are so many people who have immunities to COVID [Chinese coronavirus], whether it be through the vaccination, whether it be through their own exposure and their recovery from it, which would be acquired immunity,” he explained, adding it would be “inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) current guidance states that fully vaccinated people can “resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
While Abbott recognized getting the vaccine as the primary way to fight the delta variant, he said senior citizens remain most at risk. However, over 80 percent of seniors in the Lone Star State have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
“It’s only the younger cohort that are just now becoming to the age of vaccination that have not yet received a shot,” the governor said, explaining that he expects vaccinations to tick up a bit as school approaches:
What we do anticipate is that as kids are approaching the beginning of school, and with the delta variant increasing, you probably will see an increase in the number of parents choosing to have the child vaccinated, as well as, the increase in teachers who have not yet been vaccinated, probably going out and getting a vaccination. So, I do anticipate seeing an increase in the number of people getting a vaccine.”
Abbott also affirmed that neither the state government nor schools will force children returning to school to wear a mask.
“Kids will not be forced by government or by schools to wear masks in school,” Abbott said. “They can by parental choice wear a mask, but there will be no government mandate requiring masks.”
Currently, CDC guidance recommends unvaccinated children to still wear a mask in school, while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says everyone over the age of two should wear masks in school, regardless of vaccination status.
Abbott formally lifted the statewide mask mandate, which had been in place since July 2020, in March.