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No lockdown needed if Texans follow mask mandate, governor says

As Texas makes headlines for cases and hospitalizations, seemingly everyone wonders whether Gov. Abbott will issue another order.

AUSTIN, Texas — At the end of a press conference July 16, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was asked if a lockdown would be necessary amid a spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. He said as long as Texans abide by the face mask mandate, a shutdown will not be necessary.

Months ago, the governor ordered non-essential businesses to close in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. As Texas makes headlines for cases and hospitalizations, seemingly everyone wonders whether Abbott will issue another order.

"So we have these weekly conference calls with Dr. McClellan, with Parker Hudson, with Dr. Halstead and Dr. Zerwas," Abbott told a group of reporters. "The conversation this past week focused on this one concept, and that is, 'Did the face mask requirement that I've imposed in the state of Texas will achieve the results that the CDC director announced yesterday?' And if everyone will adopt the face mask requirement and wear a face mask, we will be able to get control of COVID-19."

RELATED: Gov. Greg Abbott discusses State's continued response to surge in COVID-19 cases across Texas

Just days before, the governor told KVUE's Ashley Goudeau in an interview that it's too early to know if his mask mandate is making a major difference, but that it's important for local leaders to enforce it. 

He said there is no need for a lockdown if "everyone will adopt this best practice": wearing a face mask in public places and when social distancing is not feasible.

"And that is exactly why I go on TV every single day and exactly why I'm emphasizing this point with you," Abbott said to the reporter who asked the question. "And that is a lockdown is the last thing that we need in the state of Texas if everyone will adopt the best practice of wearing a facemask."

The governor's comments came at the end of a ceremonial signing of the Shared Stewardship agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Texas. The agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to improve collaboration in responding to natural resource concerns and ecological challenges in Texas.

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