Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Monday issued a broad government order that bars just about any vaccine mandate within the state.
Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has been among the many most vocal political leaders within the United States opposing vaccine mandates. His newest government order consists of personal employers, which had been exempt from earlier edicts in opposition to the mandates.
“No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19,” the order states. “I hereby suspend all relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition.”
The order acknowledges that “vaccines are strongly encouraged for those eligible to receive one, but must always be voluntary for Texans.”
The order ratchets up an already deeply polarizing debate. On one facet is President Biden, who has mandated photographs for well being care employees, federal contractors and the overwhelming majority of federal employees. Biden can be calling for extra firms to mandate vaccines as a good portion of the American inhabitants stays unvaccinated. As of Friday, 66 p.c of these eligible (ages 12 and up) within the United States have been totally vaccinated, in response to a New York Times database.
The Republican governors of Texas, Florida and different states are fiercely against any measures that will require vaccines and masks, saying they infringe on private liberties. Their bans on mandates have been making their method via the courts for months.
A Texas hospital, Houston Methodist, turned one of many first giant well being care services within the nation to implement a vaccine mandate in June, when over 150 employees members had been fired or resigned.
Some employers in Texas are already making an attempt to find out if there’s any flexibility in Mr. Abbott’s order, together with whether or not it might enable a so-called test-or-vaccinate program for workers.
In the enterprise neighborhood, some predicted that firms would see the order as an infringement on their proper to set situations of employment and preserve a secure office for workers.
Among the extra outstanding of these companies could also be Facebook and Google, which preserve important campuses in Texas. Both firms had already stated, earlier than Monday’s order, that they might require proof of vaccination for workers to return to their places of work.
J. David Goodman contributed reporting.