Face masks will be mandatory in most of Texas starting Friday, thanks to an executive order issued Thursday requiring residents to wear face masks in public in any county with 20 or more coronavirus cases.
"We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces," Abbott said.
Masks are not required for children under 10 or while swimming, eating in a restaurant, or exercising outdoors while practicing social distancing.
First-time violators will receive a written warning and subsequent violations could come with a fine of up to $250.
The order comes as confirmed cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in the state, with 7,915 new cases reported on Thursday.
"These numbers reveal a very stark reality," Abbott said. "COVID-19 is not going away. In fact, it's getting worse. Now more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID-19."