For over a year, scientists have debated the efficacy of closing down businesses or limiting capacity to stave off Covid-19 infections. Meanwhile, other scientists have debated the efficacy of face masks with seemingly no difference in infection rates between states that do or do not mandate them. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has officially sided with scientists who want the economy—and our lives—opened back up.
BREAKING: The governor of the FREE STATE of TEXAS has announced that masks are no longer required in Texas and all businesses can open at 100% capacity.
— @amuse (@amuse) March 2, 2021
In an executive move on Tuesday, Abbott called on the people of Texas to continue to operate safely but without forced restrictions from government. He has lifted face mask mandates and is allowing businesses to open up to 100% capacity. But he still cautioned that safety measures not mandated by government should still be followed.
“People and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate,” Abbott said. “Texas is in a far better position now than when I issued my last executive order back in October. Now, Texans have mastered the daily habits to avoid getting COVID.”
Abbott, who has been vaccinated for Covid-19, also touted the state’s rollout of vaccines. “Today Texas will report a new one day record for the number of people receiving vaccines—more than 216,000,” he Tweeted. “We are now providing more than 1 million Vaccines a week. This is a big reason why hospitalizations are at the lowest level in four months. Always voluntary.”
Today Texas will report a new one day record for the number of people receiving vaccines—more than 216,000.
We are now providing more than 1 million Vaccines a week.
This is a big reason why hospitalizations are at the lowest level in four months.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
Many, particularly conservatives, have warned that mandates based solely on healthcare recommendations do not take into account the economic and psychological tolls on citizens. Since “15 Days to Slow the Spread” was launched nearly a year ago, there have been sharp increases in clinical depression, drug overdoses, and suicides.
“It is now time to open Texas 100%,” he said. “Every business that wants to be open should be open.”
This is about choice. Lifting mandates does not mean people will be forced to venture forth without masks or open up their businesses willy-nilly. In Texas, the people can now choose their personal level of Covid caution.