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Here's where masks are and aren't required under new Texas face covering mandate

Masks are required in commercial entites, public buildings and outdoor public spaces that don't allow for social distancing, under the executive order.

DALLAS — Updated with additional details about limits and exceptions for group gatherings.

As of 12:01 p.m. Friday, a statewide mask mandate is in effect in Texas in an effort to slow down surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

The executive order, issued by Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, is in place for all Texas counties, except those with 20 or fewer COVID-19 cases who file paperwork with the state to opt-out.

However, the governor did make certain exceptions to this requirement. Here's a look at where masks are and aren't required.

Masks required:

  • Inside commercial entities
  • Inside public buildings
  • At outdoor public spaces that don't allow for distancing
  • Protests or demonstrations with more than 10 people from different households who can't observe social distancing

Not required:

  • In counties with 20 or fewer cases, where a county judge opts out by filing with Texas Division of Emergency Management, as long as face coverings are highly recommended
  • For children 10 years or younger
  • For individuals with health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask
  • While consuming food or drink
  • While exercising or engaging in physical activities outdoors, as long as they can social distance
  • While swimming
  • While driving alone or with someone from your household
  • Temporary removal while receiving a service that requires security screening, such as a bank, or specific access to the face, such as personal care
  • Those voting or working at polling locations
  • At religious services
  • While speaking for broadcast or audience

RELATED: Here's which counties are exempt

According to the order, it is up to "local law enforcement and other local officials" to enforce the rules.

Texans cannot be detained or arrested for not wearing a mask in the required settings but could face a fine of up to $250 if they don't comply after being given a verbal warning. 

Abbott's order prohibits jail confinement as a penalty for not wearing a face covering.

The order also included verbiage banning gatherings of 10 or more people. However, Abbott issued a proclamation that mayors and county judges can approve gatherings of 10 or more people, state officials clarified Thursday night.

This 10-person limit does not apply to grocery stores or essential businesses but does apply to private gatherings.

There is also an exception for weddings, which are allowed to take place at 50% occupancy. Masks are required, by attendees and employees who can't maintain proper social distancing, according to updated documents online.

The spread of COVID-19 has been surging in Texas in recent weeks, in urban and rural areas. On Wednesday, for the first time, the state reported over 8,000 cases in a single day.

Read the full order

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