AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen is criticizing people who refuse to wear face masks as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization reach new highs in the state.

Bonnen released a strongly-worded statement regarding the uptick over the past several weeks, which some medical expert believe is related to increasing capacity limits of restaurants and bars, as well as Memorial Day festivities.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of the virus and “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

I have become increasingly infuriated by so-called advocates who are ditching the mask in the middle of a pandemic as an expression of freedom and liberty, while expressly killing the freedoms and liberties we cherish: The liberty and freedom to go to work. The liberty and freedom to have customers that keep you in business. The liberty and freedom of going to churches, restaurants, and concerts with your family and friends. The liberty and freedom of sending your kids off to school. The liberty and freedom of a thriving economy for everyone.

Speaker Bonnen

As of June 23, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported over 100,000 COVID-19 cases with almost 70,000 individuals that have recovered.

During a press conference Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott mentioned if the number of cases double over the following month, Texas would be “in an urgent situation where tougher actions would be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of COVID-19.”

“If these so-called patriots persist in flaunting their disregard for others, we’re in for a very long, dark summer with a deadly array of medical and economic consequences — not because of government restrictions, but because these agitators have fueled uncertainty and fear within decent and responsible individuals who understand the health risks and the consequences of our medical resources being strained beyond capacity,” said Speaker Bonnen.

Both Gov. Abbott and Speaker Bonnen have called for the public to wear masks as it employs personal responsibility to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s time to stand up to the mask naysayers who speak loudly but act irresponsibly as they destroy the liberty and freedom we ALL deserve,” said Speaker Bonnen.