Governor Abbott Lifts Statewide Mask Mandate
March 03, 2021
Despite health officials warning not to ease safety restrictions, Governor Greg Abbott announced that he's lifting the Texas statewide mask mandate. A CNN article, written by Amir Vera, titled "Texas Governor Lifts Mask Mandate and Allows Businesses to Open at 100% Capacity, Despite Health Officials' Warnings"
reports that Gov. Abbott made the announcement during a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce event and said businesses of any type would be allowed to open at 100% capacity beginning March 10th.
He stated that too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities, and many small business owners have been struggling to pay their bills.
According to Gov. Abbot, Texans have "mastered the daily habits to avoid getting COVID" in the past year, and a recent study from Johns Hopkins University shows that 6.57% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. During his announcement, he also stated that 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered in the state, along with a surplus of personal protective equipment, and that 10 million Texans have recovered from COVID. "Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility and caring for your family members, friends, and others in your community," Abbott said. The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to drop across the country, but health experts say easing restrictions could lead to another surge.
Health officials aren't the only ones concerned with Gov. Abbott's decision. In a statement, Harris County Judge Lina Hildago said that taking away critical public health interventions that are working won't make Texas communities safer or speed up the return of normalcy. Judge Hildago added that when public health safety measures are pulled back, hospitalization rates spike back up. The spokesman for the retail lobbying group Retail Industry Leaders Association, Jason Brewer, worried that relaxing common-sense safety protocols like wearing masks is a mistake and could jeopardize the safety of pharmacies and grocers that are vaccination centers.
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