ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas state representative who criticized Governor Greg Abbott’s mask mandate is recovering from COVID-19.

Tuesday marked one month since State Rep. Tony Tinderholt was diagnosed with the virus, and he says he’s just starting to feel like himself again.

“It is real,” Tinderholt, a Republican whose district includes Arlington, Pantego and Dalworthington Gardens, said. “It is serious.”

It’s been a tough road to recovery for him.

“I’m still doing breathing treatments,” he said. “Lots of cough drops. I get short of breath a little bit, but I feel a lot better.”

Rep. Tinderholt’s wife and two young children also tested positive, but their symptoms were less severe. He doesn’t know how they contracted the virus.

“My whole family got sick, and we wore masks everywhere we went,” said Tinderholt.

Tony Tinderholt and family (credit: Tony Tinderholt)

The state representative has been vocal about not supporting the governor’s mask mandate, but he still believes people should wear them voluntarily.

“It doesn’t mitigate getting it 100%, but if it decreases it a little bit,” he said. “I think COVID is real, and I want people to protect themselves, their families, and others around them.”

He also wants the governor to call a special session so lawmakers can address that executive order and other ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

“I think we need to start talking about budget shortfalls,” Tinderholt said. “I think we need to start talking about opening certain industries up.”

Businesses in his district have been hard hit, like many across the state.

“Please frequent the businesses that are open and spend your money with those businesses that are open,” he said.

Caroline Vandergriff