Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday issued another executive order attempting to crack down on COVID-19 vaccine mandates — this time banning any entity in Texas, including private businesses, from requiring vaccinations from employees or customers.
Abbott also called on the Legislature to pass a law to the same effect.
COVID-19 vaccine requirements by government agencies, cities, counties and school districts were already banned by a previous executive order — which is currently being fought in court by San Antonio Independent School District. The Legislature also already passed into law a ban on so-called vaccine passports — which would allow businesses to require proof of vaccination to receive service.
However, Texas had up to this point allowed private businesses to require vaccines of their own employees.
The latest move appears to be partly motivated by President Joe Biden’s actions in September that required all employers with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated or test weekly for the virus.
“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 in his order.
About 52% of Texans are fully vaccinated. Abbott was vaccinated on TV and has previously advocated for people to get the shot. But in recent months — as the delta variant caused another upswing in cases and hospitalizations — he has concentrated his political capital toward fighting vaccine and mask mandates from local school districts and governments.