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Texas Lifts Mask Mandate, Opens Business

Yesterday, Governor Abbott announced the issuance of Executive Order (GA-34) which, effective Wednesday, March 10th, lifts the state mask mandate in Texas and increases the capacity of all businesses and facilities to 100% in this state. The Governor’s order “strongly encourages” wearing face coverings where six feet of social distance is not feasible. 

This executive order rescinds most of the Governor’s earlier executive orders related to COVID-19. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols, including requiring masks, at their own discretion. If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a county judge in that region may issue COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, county judges may not impose jail time or fines for not following COVID-19 orders.  If restrictions are imposed at a county level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity.

The Executive Order does not lift the Texas State Dental Board’s emergency rule because the Governor’s initial COVID-19 disaster declaration is still in place. Dentists should continue following COVID-19 mitigation protocols found in the emergency rule.