Mask Orders %26 Requirements Local governments are prohibited from requiring people to wear masks, with some exceptions. The state order that individuals must wear masks or face coverings in most public places is no longer in effect. Meanwhile, private companies remain free to demand masks, but state law prohibits them from requiring proof of vaccination. However, cruise lines operating out of Galveston require documentation of vaccinations from passengers, saying they are exempt from that rule.
Regarding whether employers can continue to demand masks, the answer is clearly yes. In fact, just this morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that some of the largest retail, theater, hotel and restaurant chains in the United States operating in Texas announced that they will continue to require the use of masks. Admittedly, it may be more difficult for companies to justify mask requirements to customers in the absence of government bans, but it seems that many companies will continue to require their employees and customers to wear masks anyway. Private companies such as Kroger, H-E-B and CVS may require you to wear a mask if you want to enter their business.
So far, they haven't made any changes, except if you're vaccinated, you don't have to. Regardless of what happens on the regulatory front, given the anxiety that many workers have felt, and continue to feel, about the obligation to return to work, requiring masks and taking other precautions to protect employees from exposure to COVID-19 is a good way for employers to show that they care about the well-being of your employees. Several recent executive orders allow companies and other private establishments to continue to require masks as a matter of trade policy for customers and employees. We've received a lot of questions from people wondering why some businesses still require masks if the statewide mask mandate ends, and we've created a legal FAQ section on the subject to help address this question.
Last week, Austin Mayor Steve Adler urged City Manager Spencer Cronk to enforce a vaccination requirement for city employees. Greg Abbott announced that he would end the statewide mask mandate and lift restrictions on entrepreneurship. But a state law Abbott signed on June 16 goes further, saying that a company in this state may not require a customer to provide any documentation certifying the customer's COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery when entering, accessing, or receiving service from the company. Private companies still have the right to demand masks from customers and employees, but most state and local government entities can no longer do so.
Business owners will be able to decide for themselves if they are going to serve customers who do not wear masks. So how come cruise lines operating in Texas still require documented vaccination as a condition of boarding their ships? The law says it does not restrict a company from implementing COVID-19 infection detection and control protocols in accordance with state and federal laws to protect public health. Bell County Judge David Blackburn provided the following guidance for businesses and local governments. Under the executive order issued by Abbott, companies will be able to require customers to wear masks in their facilities.
The Texas Supreme Court seems to be inclined to side with Abbott in this dispute over legal interpretation. It says that any company that violates this provision is not eligible for state contracts, and allows state agencies to enforce that subsection as a condition of obtaining a license, permit, or other state authorization necessary to conduct business in this state. Following COVID protocols, including wearing masks, has been part of daily life in the pandemic until now. .