Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Issues Executive Order Banning Any Employer In The State From Enforcing A COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has issued an executive order banning “any entity” in the entire state from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a press release Monday.

Abbott’s executive order prohibits “any entity” in the state from compelling an individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine “who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience.”

The order applies to both employees and consumers (private or public) who refuse to receive the vaccine due to “religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

Abbott also issued a message to the state’s Senate and House of Representatives formally requesting the legislature to consider drafting legislation codifying a similar order into law.

The governor’s move may have come in response to President Biden’s September executive order that will require employers with more than 100 workers to require the vaccine or submit to weekly testing 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 of that order at the time.

The order marks a significant reversal after Abbott previously gave private businesses the choice to mandate vaccines for workers. An Abbott spokesperson said in late August that “private businesses don’t need government running their business.”

For weeks, Abbott has been under pressure from some on his right to go further in prohibiting vaccine requirements, and one of his primary challengers, Don Huffines, celebrated the latest order.

Currently, 52% of Texas residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including Abbott himself.