Texas Gov. Abbott Bans Covid Vaccine Mandates—Even For Private Businesses

By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff

Topline

No entity in Texas, including private businesses, can mandate coronavirus vaccinations, according to an executive order signed into law Monday evening by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks with US President Donald Trump during a briefing on hurricane relief efforts in Dallas, Texas, on October 25, 2017. AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

The executive order applies to both customers and employees who object to the coronavirus vaccine for “any reason of personal conscience,” according to a statement from Abbott’s office.

The ban on vaccine mandates also covers people who decline to be vaccinated for religious and medical concerns, including previous coronavirus infections.

The order allows for a fine of up to $1,000 for noncompliance.

Abbott also added the issue of vaccine mandates to the agenda for the Texas’ legislature upcoming special session, encouraging lawmakers to pass a similar law.

The order comes amid controversy over Dallas-based Southwest Airlines’ mass flight cancellations, which Texas Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz have blamed on the company’s vaccine mandate, which is rumored to have been met with resistance by employees.

Crucial Quote

"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Abbott said in a statement Monday.

Tangent

Montana was the first state to ban coronavirus vaccine mandates for private employers, deeming it “discrimination.”

Key Background

Monday’s executive order is a step further than the order Abbott signed in August, which barred coronavirus vaccines from being mandated by government agencies, which includes public schools and universities. Abbott has been firmly against vaccine and mask mandates since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. He signed an executive order against vaccine passports in April. In August, he tested positive for coronavirus amid a statewide surge of new cases and hospitalizations. He credited his quick recovery and mild illness to being fully vaccinated. Nearly 52% of Texans are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, slightly lower than the roughly 57% national average.

Further Reading

Gov. Greg Abbott Tests Positive For Covid As Cases, Hospitalizations Surge In Texas (Forbes)


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