AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ governor says public schools must end mask requirements starting in June and is ordering Texas’ cities and counties to drop nearly all face covering mandates by the end of the week.
Tuesday’s announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott does not affect private businesses, which can still require customers or workers to wear masks. But the change is the biggest rollbacks of Texas’ pandemic safeguards since Abbott ended a statewide mask mandate in March.
Public hospitals, jails and state-supported living centers will still be allowed to require masks.
The move comes as Texas’ coronavirus cases and COVID-19 deaths continue to plunge and vaccines are being made available to children as young as 12.
Some Texas school have already ended mask mandates. The Texas State Teachers Association criticized Abbott’s decision as premature.