Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced the reopening of businesses for 100% occupancy and the lifting of the mask mandate statewide beginning next Wednesday, March 10.
The Blaze reported that the governor announced the lifting of the pandemic restrictions during a news conference held last Tuesday when he also revealed that COVID-19 vaccinations are at 216,000 Texans per day or more than 1 million vaccine doses weekly.
"With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus. We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent," Abbott stated in his address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce held at the Montelongo's Mexican Restaurant on March 2 as per the Office of the Texas Governor's website.
"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," he explained.
"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," he elaborated. "With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny."
In addition, Abbott also announced the matter in his Twitter account, "NEW: Issuing an executive order to lift the mask mandate and open Texas to 100 percent." The post contained a screencap of the write-up found at Abbott's website.
NEW: Issuing an executive order to lift the mask mandate and open Texas to 100 percent. pic.twitter.com/P4UywmWeuN
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 2, 2021
Abbott's 4-page Executive Order GA34, entitled "Relating To The Opening Of Texas In Response To The COVID-19 Disaster, details the coverage of his announcement and lays the guidelines for its implementation "in accordance with guidance from medical advisors."
For "counties not in an area with high hospitalization," meaning "any Trauma Service Area that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage total of hospital capacity exceeds 15%, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15% or less," the Executive Order mandates "no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment."
However, it "strongly encourages" individuals to "wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household, but no person may be required by any jurisdiction to wear or to mandate the wearing of face covering."
Meanwhile for counties located in areas with high hospitalization, the Executive Order does not impose any operating limits to businesses and other establishments, as well as, not requiring the use of face masks.
The Executive Order, in such instance, provides the county judge the authority to the decide the use of COVID-19 "mitigation strategies" but not to the extent that businesses and religious services would be required to operate at less than 50% of total occupancy. No penalties shall be imposed to anyone violating COVID-19 rulings, including confinement in jail. This means those not wearing a face mask will not be penalized, as well.
Townhall reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom, in reaction to Abbott's anouncement, tweeted it as "absolutely reckless" and ended up being bashed online. Townhall said Newsom's reaction to Texas' reopening "is a sight to behold" because it boomeranged due to the criticisms he received from Netizens. As GrabienMedia Founder and Editor Tom Elliott puts it, "The governor of the state w/ the most Covid deaths in America has some thoughts on 'reckless' policy."