HOUSTON, July 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Texas issued face covering order in public places as COVID-19 cases continued to spike in the state.
The executive order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott requires all people to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.
"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," said Abbott. "I urge all Texans to wear a face covering in public, not just for their own health, but for the health of their families, friends, and for all our fellow Texans."
The governor also issued a proclamation giving mayors and county judges the ability to impose restrictions on some outdoor gatherings of over 10 people, and making it mandatory that, with certain exceptions, people cannot be in groups larger than ten and must maintain six feet (about 1.8 meters) of social distancing from others.
"Large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases," Abbott continued. "If Texans commit to wearing face coverings in public spaces and follow the best health and safety practices, we can both slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep Texas open for business."
Following the order, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed his support for the order. Local media reported earlier that Turner wrote a letter to Abbott, asking for more strict orders in the state to combat the coronavirus.
"I fully support Governor Abbott's executive order requiring wearing masks in public places in counties with 20 or more #COVID19 cases. Although, I believe we need to do more," he tweeted.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, as of Thursday there were 175,977 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the state, 7,915 more cases than that of Wednesday. The death toll reached 2,525.