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.
According to a statement from Abbott’s office, the executive order applies to both customers and employees who object to a coronavirus vaccine for “any reason of personal discretion.”
The ban on vaccine mandate also covers people who refuse vaccination for religious and medical concerns, including past coronavirus infections.
The order allows for fines of up to $1,000 for non-compliance.
Abbott also added vaccine mandate issue to Texas legislature’s agenda upcoming special session, encouraging MPs to pass a similar law.
The order comes amid controversy over mass flight cancellations of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which Texas Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz have blamed on the company’s vaccine mandate, which is rumored to have met resistance by employees.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but must remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a statement on Monday.
Montana was the first state ban coronavirus vaccine mandate For private employers, considering it “discrimination”.
Monday’s executive order is a step forward from an order signed by Abbott in August that barred coronavirus vaccines from being mandated by government agencies, including public schools and universities. Abbott has been against the vaccine and mask mandate since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. He signed an executive order against Vaccine Passport in April. In August, he tested positive for the coronavirus amid a statewide surge of new cases and hospitalizations. He attributed his speedy recovery and mild illness to complete vaccination. About 52% of Texans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, which is slightly less than the national average of about 57%.
Gov. Greg Abbott tests positive for Covid, hospitalized in Texas (Businesshala)