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Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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1130 views   |   7   |   Last updated on Jun 08, 2021    Masks COVID-19

Private businesses still have the right to require masks for customers and employees, but most state and local government entities can no longer do so.

The statewide mask mandate that required masks in most public places ended in March 2021, and most state and local governments are prohibited from requiring masks, according to two recent governor’s orders: Executive Order GA-34 [PDF] and Executive Order GA-36 [PDF]. However, businesses and other establishments may require that their customers and employees wear masks or other personal protective equipment as a matter of business policy, similar to a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy that you may see at a store.

Businesses may set policies. Executive Order GA-34 confirms that businesses and other establishments may require employees or customers to wear masks:

Nothing in this executive order precludes businesses or other establishments from requiring employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering.

Enforcement by businesses. Executive Order GA-34 states that a person who refuses to leave a business for failing to comply with the businesses' mask policy can be removed by law enforcement at the business or property owners' request for violating trespassing laws:

[...] a legally authorized official may act to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner.

Exceptions. Executive Order GA-36 makes the following exceptions:

a.  state supported living centers, government-owned hospitals, and government-operated hospitals may continue to use appropriate policies regarding the wearing of face coverings; and
b.  the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, and any county and municipal jails acting consistent with guidance by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards may continue to use appropriate policies regarding the wearing of face coverings.

Disabilities. If you have a disability that affects your ability to wear a face mask, you may consider asking the business for an accommodation. See our Legal FAQ Do I have to wear a mask if I have a disability? for more on this subject. 

For more information on current mask laws and policies, please see our Mask Laws page of the COVID-19 & Texas Law guide

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