World news – Governor Greg Abbott says he is lifting the nationwide mask mandate, capacity limits for companies


Abbott made the announcement at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock.

by Texas Tribune Staff

March 2, 2021

Updated: 2:02 pm

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Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that he was ending the statewide mask mandate and it was allows all businesses to open at full capacity.

« Now is the time to open Texas 100%, » said Abbott of a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock, arguing that this is how far Texas is fighting the coronavirus pandemic said that « people and companies don’t need a state telling them how to work » any longer.

Abbott said he is canceling « most of the previous executive orders » he issued last year to deal with them Curb the spread of the virus. From next Wednesday he said: « All companies of any kind are allowed to open 100%. » He also said that he would end the mask mandate, although it was not immediately clear when this would take effect. Abbott first introduced the mask requirement last summer.

The news is not entirely unexpected. Abbott said Thursday that its office is looking at when it can stop all coronavirus nationwide orders and that it would receive announcements « pretty soon ». But it comes as the spread of the virus across the state remains serious.

The virus’ current trajectory has been difficult to measure in the past few days due to last month’s winter storm, forcing many large counties to close their testing centers and not report cases. Daily confirmed cases and deaths are significantly down from a nationwide peak in January. However, the hospital data has been less disrupted and has steadily declined since late January.

Still, 59 new deaths were reported as of March 1. As of Sunday, only 6.5% of Texans were fully vaccinated, although Abbott was optimistic that the pace will accelerate as more vaccines are made available to Texas.

Experts say Texas is far from herd immunity to reach. Reaching the 70% to 80% need estimated by many would mean vaccinating 22 million people, or nearly 100% of the state’s adults, according to census figures. The vaccines are currently not approved for children under the age of 16, who make up around 23% of the population. Scientists don’t yet know exactly whether or how well the vaccines prevent the virus from spreading, although some preliminary research has shown that some vaccines can do this to some extent.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that people who have received two doses of the vaccine continue to avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet away from people outside their homes, and wear masks to cover your nose and mouth.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t know when Americans can go back to normal, but that they may still have to wear face masks until 2022.

February 25, 2021

Updated: February 24, 2021

Updated: February 18, 2021

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