Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced at a new conference in Lubbock, Texas that it’s time to “open Texas 100%” and said he is ordering the mask requirement along with restrictions on business occupancy to end with an executive order he will sign on Wednesday. Abbott added that though the statewide order will be no more, businesses can still chose to impose their own restrictions if they chose saying “it is their business, and they get to choose to operate their business the way they want to. At this time, however, people and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.”
Abbots order is welcomed by many Texans who believe they know what is best for them and would prefer the government not be as intrusive. “I don’t necessarily mind wearing a mask in appropriate situations, I just don’t like being told that I have to” said Jonathan Riker of San Antonio. Until today’s announcement, Texas businesses have bene required to keep their occupancy levels at 75%. In the El Paso region and Laredo regions, there were further restrictions due to higher hospitalizations rates.
In his announcement, Gov Abbott cited falling positive covid-19 tests and decreasing hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients across the state. More than 1 million Texans have been fully vaccinated so far and according to Abbott, the state will set a record of 216,000 people vaccinated on a single day for Tuesday. He also said Texas is now vaccinating more than 1 million people each week. 3.7 million Texans have received at least their first dose.
Not everyone is happy about the lifting of statewide restrictions. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday that states should not lift restrictions because new variants that are more contagious are spreading across the country with cases now in Georgia, South Carolina, New York , California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Louisiana and Virginia. "I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back” restrictions designed to protect against the spread of Covid said Walensky.
Texas, like most states, saw a significant jump in new cased in December and January following gatherings of families and friends during the holidays. Since then, cases have fallen significantly according to state health figures.