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Some E. Texas counties opt-out of enforcing Gov. Abbott’s face mask requirement


Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, removes his face mask to deliver remarks at a press conference on June 22, 2020, relating to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state. He warned Texans that further measures might be taken to restrict the reopening process if citizens do not adhere to the guidelines outlined by the state. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

(KTAL/KMSS) — A few counties in East Texas say they are opting out on enforcing Gov. Greg Abbott’s face mask order that includes fines if someone does not comply after a verbal warning.

According to state officials, counties can file for an exemption from the order if they have less than 20 active cases. In 30 days, a county can apply for an exemption if they fall under the 20-case threshold, but are right now currently above it.

Some counties are refusing to issue citations, but they are encouraging voluntary compliance to the order. Here is a list of counties that have indicated what their intentions are:

Judges from the following two counties have specifically stated they have fewer than 20 active cases and intend to opt out:

These counties have not released a statement:

  • Bowie – 144 active cases as of Thursday, according to the TXK COVID-19 site, 250 according to TX DHS site
  • Harrison – 58 active cases per TX DHS
  • Red River – 39 active cases per TX DHS
  • Shelby – 52 active cases yesterday, per TX DHS
  • Panola – 27 active cases yesterday, per TX DHS
  • Titus – 96 active cases yesterday, per TX DHS – Judge just shared a Texas Tribune story Thursday on the governor’s order and did not make any statement.

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