NORTH TEXAS (CBSNEWS.COM) — A growing number of sheriffs in Texas say they are refusing to follow a recent executive order requiring face masks in public. Governor Greg Abbott’s mandate aims to slow the spread of coronavirus, as cases in the state soared past 200,000 on Tuesday.

Police officials in at least nine counties — including Denton, Houston, Montgomery, Gillespie, Upshur, Kerr, Gregg, Nacogdoches and Panola — said they will not impose the ruling with verbal or written citations. Some counties cited staffing issues, while others said the language in the order makes it impossible to police.

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Abbott, a Republican who had previously relaxed coronavirus lockdown measures and did not encourage the use of face masks, reversed his course last week to make masks mandatory statewide and limit gatherings of more than 10 people. Cases have exploded across Texas in recent weeks, pushing hospital staff to their limits.

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