Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that, “it is now time to open Texas 100%.” Citing the availability of vaccinations, reduced hospitalization rates and the healthy daily habits Texans have developed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Abbott said state mandates are no longer needed. Abbott has issued Executive Order (EO) GA-34, which will rescind many of the Governor’s previous EOs. EO GA-34 removes all state-wide restrictions. This will allow every business in Texas to open at full capacity and remove any requirements to wear face coverings.
The requirements to wear face coverings and the limits on occupancy have never applied to worship services in Texas. Some churches, however, chose to voluntarily follow and implement practices to abide by the Governor’s EOs despite their exemption. Additionally, these restrictions have affected other areas of church ministry, parachurch organizations, and other non-church religious organizations. Here’s what churches and religious organizations should know about EO GA-34:
You can read EO GA-34 in its entirety here.
Attorney John Litzler directs the church law division of Christian Unity Ministries in San Antonio. He also serves as a BGCT legal consultant to assist Texas Baptist churches in understanding various legal issues.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and a general understanding of the law and does not constitute specific legal advice. By utilizing the Texas Baptist website, you understand that there is no attorney/client relationship between you/your church and the author or between you/your church and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. This article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state with the specifics of your situation.
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