Texas to repeal mask mandate and open all businesses 100%

Pollemix News – February 03, 2021
Governor Gregg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he had rescinded the Texas mask mandate and lifted all restrictions on businesses allowing them to return to 100% capacity. Reactions to Abbott’s action were mixed with many Covid-weary Texans gleeful that they would be able to return to a semblance of normality but health officials were less enthusiastic labeling the move “premature and reckless.

Governor Abbott’s office teased “exciting” news ahead of press conference with Texas business leaders in Lubbock yesterday but no further details were provided at the time. Appearing on stage as scheduled, Abbott opened his statement with praise for resilience of the Texas community in the face of the crisis but lamented the detrimental effect that businesses being shuttered was having on the state. He then announced his decision to repeal the statewide mask mandate and allow businesses to open to 100% capacity, making Texas the largest state to fully re-open following the pandemic.

“It is now time to open Texas 100%,” Abbott said to resounding applause. “Everybody that wants to work should have that opportunity, every business that wants to be open should be open,” he continued.

Abbott then sought to validate his decision by pointing to the nationwide decrease in infection rates, as well as reducing hospitalization and mortality rates within the states. The Governor acknowledged that the Covid pandemic was far from over but stressed that the “extreme” measures put in place during the height of the pandemic were no longer necessary before confirming that he would issue an Executive Order to lift these restrictions:

“Today I’m issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate.”

The announcement was met with a firestorm of criticism from health officials and politicians with Representative Joaquin Castro labeling the move “reckless and dangerous”, whilst his fellow Democrat Beto O’Rourke went even further calling it a “death warrant for Texas.”

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich also piled onto Abbott saying the Governor was “ignorant” and calling the decision “really ridiculous.” Other critics, including Beto O’Rourke who has been tipped in some quarters to be considering a run against Abbott in the 2022 Gubernatorial election accused the embattled Governor of seeking to distract from recent failures including the disastrous Texas energy debacle that left at least 30 people dead, and a lacklustre rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine which has left the state languishing at 46th in the nation for number of vaccinations administered.

Conversely, many business owners are cautiously optimistic about the state re-opening. While fearful of an upsurge in virus infections, Texas restaurateurs told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth News that they welcome the opportunity to rebuild their businesses after a year ravaged by the pandemic and the unprecedented winter storm that led to the horrific Texas energy crisis.

POLL: Should laws mandating masks in public be repealed nationwide?

As the Coronavirus pandemic ravaged the US many states and localities mandated the wearing of masks in public to stem the tide of the outbreak. Advocates maintain that the widespread use of masks has reduced the rate of infection within the country, whilst critics claim that it is a violation of civil liabilities that has only minimal effect on 'slowing the spread' of Covid-19.

Texas yesterday announced they will repeal their statewide mask mandate due to significantly decreasing hospitalizations, infections and mortality. Should the US follow Texas lead and rescind the mask mandate now that Coronavirus rates seem to be dropping?