Governor Abbott Will Lift State Mask Mandate On March 10
Late last week Governor Abbott teased a big, exciting announcement for Texas today. Many Texans speculated the Governor would lift some of the COVID restrictions across the state, others guessed the mask mandate would be removed. So, today the Governor addressed Texans from the dining room of a family owned Mexican restaurant in Lubbock, TX. Texans tuned in to hear Abbott announce Texas is reopening to 100% effective March 10, 2021.
“It is now time to open Texas 100%,” Abbott continued “people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.
I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.
I also ended the statewide mask mandate.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
Abbott says Texas is better equipped to deal with COVID today as vaccines continue to ramp up, PPE has been refreshed, COVID-19 testing is readily available (TX can perform over 100,000 COVID tests per day), etc.
‘COVID-19 Has Not Disappeared’ But State Mandates No Longer Needed
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” said Governor Abbott. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed.
Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
However, as of Sunday only 6.5% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. Many eligible Texans in groups 1A and 1B are still searching for an open slot or waiting to hear from one of the many lists they’re registered with.
So, what if COVID-19 cases surge?
Governor Abbott said, If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of Texas’ 22 hospital regions rise above 15% of the capacity in that region for seven straight days, a county judge “may use COVID mitigation strategies in their county”.
The caveat: Abbott stated “under no circumstance” can a county judge jail someone for not following their orders. They cannot impose fines for failure to wear a mask. Furthermore even if a county places additional restrictions, businesses must be allowed to operate at 50% capacity at the minimum.
While some Texans cheered to the news, others expressed concern pointing out that Houston is the first US city to record cases of every major COVID-19 variant found in the country.
And it was only yesterday that the CDC Director urged caution. “Please hear me clearly: at this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Dr. Walensky said. “These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress,” she added.
Dr. Walensky urged US residents to continue with Covid-19 measures. “We have the ability to stop a potential fourth surge of cases in this country. Please stay strong in your conviction.”
Judge Jenkins Reacts To Abbott’s Removal of Mask Mandate
“Moments ago, on the day 25 new deaths raised Dallas County death toll to above 3,000
Gov. Abbott lifted all his state orders designed to protect you and those you care about from COVID-19.”
He added, “We need to focus not on what the law allows, but what doctors and the facts and the science that we all know well at this point tell us is necessary to keep us safe and give us our best chance of reaching herd immunity as quickly as possible.”
“That’s wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, foregoing get-togethers, doing those things that we need to do. Currently here in Dallas County, 13 percent of the population has received their first shot and 7% their second shot”
Tarrant County Judge Immediately Rescinds Mask Mandate
“Pursuant to today’s announcement by Governor Abbott, I will immediately be rescinding my Executive Order requiring face coverings on businesses and their patrons,” Judge Glen Whitley.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Reacts To Abbott’s Announcement
Mayor Eric Johnson on Tuesday issued the following statement after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announced statewide COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted:
“The people of Dallas should continue to mask up and take precautions to slow COVID-19’s spread and mutations. We are getting closer to achieving herd immunity, and now is not the time to let down our guard. Vaccines, masks, and social distancing are the best tools we have for fighting this virus, which has claimed far too many lives in the last year.”
Coronavirus Virologist Dr. Benjamin Neuman Responds To Governor’s Decision
Dr. Ben Neuman has 24 years experience in studying coronaviruses. He was part of the taxonomy study group that named the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)
“I think this decision is wrong. Bad. Indefensible on scientific grounds. I’m not sure if anyone that was involved in advising or making this decision has read or understands any of the science. Its basically an anti-science declaration, which is unfortunate.”
Dr. Neuman says the science has not changed, and throughout the pandemic Texans have needed encouragement to wear masks. Coronavirus cases according to DSHS are artificially low due to the winter storm, so Dr. Neuman believes Abbott’s decision is based on incomplete data.”
Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist, TX Not Out Of The Woods
Global Epidemiologist Emily Smith, aka “Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist” on Facebook shared the following statistics:
“We are at a high-risk level of an outbreak. We are one of 8 states in that level of an outbreak.”
- Of the top 20 counties in the US with the highest recent number of cases per capita, 11 of those counties are in Texas.
- Texas cases per capita ranks #8 of ALL states and ranks very close to the other states above it.
- Texas deaths per capita ranks #7 of ALL states and ranks close to the other states above it.
For more data and her view of where the state stands, visit her Facebook page or website.