On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates from being implemented by any “entity in Texas.”
“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 executive order reads.
The governor also sent a message to the chief clerk of the Texas House and secretary of the Texas Senate, adding the issue as an item to the third legislative special session agenda. The executive order will be rescinded upon passage of such legislation, Abbott said.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” said Abbott in a release.
The order sets up a maximum fine of $1,000 for failure to comply with the rule.
A previous law signed by Abbott in June prohibited any Texas business from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” of customers.
President Joe Biden last month directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to write a rule requiring employers with at least 100 workers to force employees to get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus-free. The plan is part of an all-out effort to curb the impact of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant.
The rule will cover an estimated 80 million workers and has already been threatened with lawsuits from GOP attorneys general. The OSHA requirement would last six months, after which a permanent measure must replace it. Employers that don’t comply could face penalties of up to $13,600 per violation.