Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an Executive Order (GA-40) prohibiting the enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas against employees and customers of private businesses who object on certain bases, including “personal conscience.”

Effective immediately, GA-40 states: “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.”

The Executive Order further states that it “shall supersede any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster” and suspends several sections of the Texas Government Code and Health and Safety Code “to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 disaster that are inconsistent with this executive order.”

Failure to comply with GA-40 may result in fines not to exceed $1,000, though no criminal penalties are attached.

We will continue to monitor and report on further developments, particularly as employers with 100 or more employees await details from OSHA on the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination (or testing) requirement announced several weeks back by the Biden Administration.