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Gov. Greg Abbott says Texans should wear face masks, but the government will not force them to

2 weeks 1 day 56 minutes ago Friday, May 22 2020 May 22, 2020 May 22, 2020 10:35 AM May 22, 2020 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that Texans should wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 — but that nobody should be forced to wear a mask.

During an interview with Dina Herrera-Garza on Channel 5 News at noon, Abbott said the new coronavirus, COVID-19, remains a threat to Texas.

"Everyone needs to understand COVID-19 has not, like, suddenly disappeared from the state of Texas," Abbott said. "It is still here. It is still an infectious disease that can be transmitted from one person to another.”

"As a result, it is essential for everybody in Texas continue these safe practices of washing your hands, wearing a face mask, keeping your distance from others, so that you can prevent transmitting this disease from one person to another," Abbott said. "We want to make sure everyone understands what the safe practices are."

Texas, however, would not force people to wear masks, Abbott said.

"One thing that we don't want to do — because people feel like their lives are being infringed upon due to no fault of their own — we don't want to be putting people in jail because they refuse to wear face masks," Abbott said. "We just want to emphasize to them that this is the best medical advice. But, candidly, is the best thing that you can do to protect your own safety."

People should wear masks to protect family members and their fellow Texans, Abbott said.

"We also know that, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, there are so many people who care dearly about their parents and their grandparents," Abbott said. "And that you don't want to cause your grandparent to get ill or even lose their life by transmitting COVID-19 to them. And the best way you can protect your grandparent is to make sure that you wear a face mask."

Asked why he didn't require Texans to wear face masks in public, Abbott said people would only congregate in places where they feel safe.

Customers will return to businesses that take precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19, Abbott said. Any business that doesn't will lose customers.

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