Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Monday banning all entities in the state, including private businesses, from requiring vaccinations for employees or customers.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced,” Gov. Abbott stated on Twitter.
Abbott’s executive order will also remove any conflicting orders that have already been put into place by local governments, issuing fines up to $1,000 for failure to comply with the rule.
Covid-19 vaccination mandate requirements from government entities, including school districts, were banned in Texas by a previous executive order from Abbott. The Texas governor had also signed a bill in June that banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from customers.
Abbott formally requested Texas’s Senate and House of Representatives to add the issue as an item for the third legislative special agenda session.
Abbott’s move comes in response to Joe Biden’s September executive order mandating vaccinations for nearly 100 million Americans. Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers with over 100 workers to mandate vaccinations for employees, or subject them to weekly testing. Biden also required all federal workers and contractors to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
“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’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said about Biden’s orders in September.
Employers that do not comply with Biden’s executive order could face penalties of up to $14,000 per violation.