Since Governor Greg Abbott announced no masks, there has been a lot of confusion for people as well as businesses in Texas. His order went against what many other states were doing. In his home state, people were unsure if they should wear a mask or not as they enter a building.
Some businesses enforce wearing a mask while others do not.
Fort Worth employment lawyer Jason Smith said, “Gov. Abbott’s order has created a lot of confusion and headaches for employers in Texas.”
This is where some companies stand when it comes to wearing a mask.
Spokesperson Brandy King for Southwest Airlines commented that the company is aware of Abbott’s order, but it plans to continue to follow the federal rule.
“We are reviewing all guidance issued on the vaccine and are aware of the recent Order by Governor Abbott,” the statement reads. “According to the President’s Executive Order, federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and we would be expected to comply with the President’s Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor. We will continue to follow all Orders closely and keep our Employees updated on any potential changes to existing policies.”
Fort Worth-based American Airlines spokesperson said it was reviewing the Governor’s order.
“We believe the federal vaccine mandate supersedes any conflicting state laws, and this does not change anything for American,” spokesperson Curtis Blessing said.
A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin, also a federal contractor, referred to a statement on its website when asked about Abbott’s order. The security and aerospace company is following federal requirements, according to the web page updated Monday,
The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce declined to comment on Abbott’s order.
Abbott’s order does not offer an exemption for medical settings. Stephen Love, the president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, said hospitals will work to fully comply with all executive orders.
He said that some North Texas hospitals have mandated employees to get vaccinated. Other hospitals have encouraged vaccinations but don’t mandate them.
“Hospitals, in general, follow the science, we follow public health and we stay out of the politics,” Love said.
Texas Hospital Association President and CEO Ted Shaw in a statement said hospitals need to be able to do what’s best to protect patients.
“This political action undercuts the central mission of hospitals, and patients and staff cannot be put at unnecessary risk. Hospitals have soldiered on for months at ground zero of this pandemic,” Shaw said. “As experts in healing and saving lives, hospitals must have the trust, respect, and flexibility to mandate vaccines in their own facilities to protect the people of Texas.”
Governor Abbot's Order and new Law
Governor Abbott recently banned any entity including employers from requiring the COVID vaccine.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Abbott wrote in the news release.
Abbott’s order states that “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”
“In yet another instance of federal 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,” the order reads.
Karen Vladeck, an employment lawyer in Austin, said of the new order from Abbott.
“This harms Texans directly... I just think it wasn’t well thought out.”
Did your employer require the COVID vaccine?