Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Lifts State Mask Mandate, Declares ‘It is Time to Open Texas 100%’
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he was opening his state and ending a statewide mask mandate effective immediately.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott said at Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.
“I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” he added.
Abbott signed an executive order requiring face coverings in July. The move puts Texas in line with a number of southern states that had already eliminated statewide mask mandates, including Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. Others on that list include Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
The new guidelines in Abbott’s state allow county judges to deploy “mitigation strategies” if hospitalization rates in a given region exceed 15 percent of their capacity for seven consecutive days. Those rules allow them to impose occupancy restrictions on local businesses, including restaurants, reducing capacity by a maximum of 50 percent.
A pair of Texas Democrats told Abbott they objected to lifting the state’s mask requirement. “We believe it would be premature and harmful to do anything to lose widespread adoption of this preventive measure,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote in a letter addressed to the governor prior to his announcement. “Especially with the arrival of new variants of the virus to Texas and our cities, with the associated spike in cases, preserving the most effective of our existing safety measures is even more important.”
Watch above, via CNBC.
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