Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued his fight against COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates by issuing an executive order on Wednesday extending his ban on a vaccine mandate — even for some private companies.
In his executive order, Abbott said vaccines remain a choice for Texans. The ban is aimed at local governments, including school districts. Private companies that have government contracts are also included.
Abbott asked the Texas Legislature to discuss if mandates are acceptable and what would qualify as an exemption.
"Vaccine requirements and exemptions have historically been determined by the legislature, and their involvement is particularly important to avoid a patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas," Abbott said.
Abbott, along with Attorney General Ken Paxton, have waged war with officials in Texas' largest cities about masks and vaccines in the face of a huge surge of COVID-19 across the state. On Wednesday, a Dallas judge ruled that Abbott couldn't band mask from being mandated by Dallas County.
Abbott's mandates against mandates have received sharp criticism. In his executive order, Abbott said:
No governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID 19 vaccine. I hereby suspend Section 81.082(fl(1) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive aCOVID-19 vaccine.
State agencies and political subdivisions shall not adopt or enforce any order, ordinance, policy, regulation, rule, or similar measure that requires an individual to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the individual’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine. I hereby suspend Section 81.0850) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition. This paragraph does not apply to any documentation requirements necessary for the administration of a COVID- 19 vaccine.
Any public or private entity that is receiving or will receive public funds through any means, including grants, contracts, loans, or other disbursements of taxpayer money, shall not require a consumer to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine. No consumer may be denied entry to a facility financed in whole or in part by public funds for failure to provide documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine.
Nothing in this executive order shall be construed to limit the ability of a nursing home, state supported living center, assisted living facility, or long-term care facility to require documentation of a resident’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine.
This executive order shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster.
The criticism against Abbott was predictable: