Counties with fewer than 10 COVID-19 cases are exempt from the order.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered residents to wear face coverings in public amid a spike in Covid-19 cases across the second-most populous USA state.
He announced that he issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people and mandating that individuals must keep a social distance of six feet. In mid-June, Abbott allowed counties to require businesses to implement face mask policies.
In that same interview, however, Abbott said that local governments could require stores and businesses to require masks-a statement that paved the way for San Antonio, Houston, and many other cities in Texas to enforce Abbott's mask order and compel citizens to wear masks.
Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Texas has reported more than 170,000 cases of the virus and 2,500 deaths so far, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
It's a dramatic reversal for Abbott who had been outspoken about reopening the state and previously banned local governments from penalizing people who didn't wear masks in public.
Abbott has been scaling back his reopening as virus cases exploded and the sickest patients began to overwhelm intensive-care wards in Houston and elsewhere.
The order goes into effect at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, and violators could face up to $250 in fines.
Just last week, Texas closed all bars and water rafting across the state. "Texans are still getting sick".
The move was applauded by the Texas Medical Association. We all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.
President Donald Trump said in an interview this week that he is "all for masks", but added that he doesn't think it should be nationally mandated. The order applies to counties with at least 20 positive COVID-19 infections.