Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting Covid-19 vaccine mandate for employees or customers, including private businesses, in the country’s second-largest state.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Republican Governor said Monday.
According to the order, no entity in Texas can enforce vaccination against anyone who objects “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from Covid-19”, said the statement.
Abbott also urged the Texas legislature to pass legislation to the same effect.
President Joe Biden announced a federal vaccine mandate last month, requiring companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workforces are vaccinated or regularly tested.
“In yet another instance of federal government overreach, the Biden administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the Covid-19 disaster,” Abbott said in his order.
Over the summer, the Governor issued executive orders prohibiting local governments and school districts from requiring either masks or vaccines, with a $1,000 fine for those who fail to comply.
Local media reported that school districts in San Antonio and Dallas have challenged the order in court.
According to The Texas Tribune, approximately 52% of Texans, including the Governor, are fully vaccinated.