Gov. Abbott announced that Texans will no longer be required to wear a face mask in public, and businesses can open at full capacity starting March 10. The Governor’s announcement was made on Texas Independence Day March 2.
While some North Texas business owners were delighted to hear they could loosen restrictions, numerous critics of Gov. Abbott, like Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, issued statements disagreeing with Tuesday’s edict. Collin County and Tarrant County judges said they would allow local businesses to dispense with masks and capacity limitations, but Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price urged citizens to stick with CDC requirements.
Gov. Abbott Explains Decision
The Covid-19 pandemic has killed over 42,500 Texans, but Gov. Abbott pointed to declining hospitalizations and increased rate of vaccinations for his decision. Texans will be in charge of managing their individual safety, Abbott said, but the mask mandate will be lifted and all businesses can open at 100% of capacity.
Other states have also abandoned their pandemic policies, with Mississippi lifting restrictions effective today. Mask orders were lifted in Montana and Iowa a month ago, and North Dakota’s mask order expired in January. In all, 15 states have dropped their mask requirements.
“Today’s announcement does not abandon the state practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Gov. Abbott said Tuesday. “Instead, it is a reminder that each person has their own role to play in their own personal safety.”
Local Restaurateur Bryan Kaeser
Bryan Kaeser, owner of Mudhook Kitchen & Bar and Black & Bitter Coffee in Duncanville, said, “Mudhook and Black & Bitter Coffee will continue to follow CDC guidelines. The past year has given us the experience we need to provide a balance between great service, food, beverages, and atmosphere with the health and safety of our staff and guests. Our job is hospitality and it’s just not hospitable to unnecessarily risk lives over a burger, cocktail or coffee. Mask up, wash your hands and stay #DvilleStrong.”
Kroger grocery stores issued a statement that masks will still be required for customers, employees and vendors. Albertson’s and Tom Thumb grocery stores will still require masks for employees and vendors, but will no longer enforce masks for customers shopping in their stores.
Trinity Hall Irish Pub Reopening
Marius D at Trinity Hall Irish Pub, Mockingbird Station in Dallas, was surprised but excited by Gov. Abbott’s edict. Notifying fans on social media, he said they were working to reopen as soon as possible, but sadly, not sure they could make it in time for St. Patrick’s Day. His message ends with, “So here’s to today, and the opportunity to get back to serving up good times with all of our friends, families & suppliers. With just a tad more patience, and lots of good thoughts, we’ll have you back in your comfortable place in the not too distant future. Once a solid pathway to re-opening has been established we’ll be along to share dates, staff opportunities, and special events to welcome you all back. That’s all I have for now, thanks for continuing to root for Trinity Hall”
Karissa Condoianis, Vice President of Marketing for the State Fair of Texas, announced recently (and before Gov. Abbott’s edict), that they plan to hold the 2021 exposition Sept. 24–Oct. 17. The Fair recently issued a call for unique businesses to apply for a slot there.
Dallas International Guitar Festival April 30
Jimmy Wallace, owner and operator of Dallas International Guitar Festival (DIGF), oldest and largest such event in the country, had also previously announced the show would go on this year. While they were forced to cancel last year’s event due to Covid-19 restrictions, Wallace says the live music festival is planned for April 30-May 2 at Dallas Market Hall.
“We are very excited about things opening up again,” Wallace said. “But we will still implement everyone wearing a mask throughout the entire event,” he added.
Wallace, who is also the owner of Jimmy Wallace Guitar Gallery located on Main Street in Garland, said they will continue to require masks to be worn inside the store by staff and customers.
Since the Rockport-Fulton Beach area on the Gulf Coast is a favorite destination of many North Texans, we reached out to them for a comment about the relaxing of restrictions.
“We encourage everyone to stay safe and be cautious as we go into this next phase of combatting the virus. Our business owners have been very cooperative as they sanitize and protect their employees and establishments. We have so many opportunities for one to enjoy the outdoors. With the Governor lifting the mask order and opening Texas, our businesses stand ready and are happy to service their customers in a Texas friendly way,” says Diane Probst, President/CEO, Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce.