Texas Lifts Mask Mandate

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Marlha Sanidad, Staff Writer

After its devastating winter storm, Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott has made the decision to fully open up Texas, lifting the mask mandate on March 10. The governor credited this decision to the rapid increase in vaccine shots that are being given each week, the reduction in hospitalizations, and the decrease in case numbers. However, this change puts Texas businesses that enforce mask rules in a corner, forced to deal with backlash as the public health guidance is no longer behind them. Texas has become the largest state to not require masks.

Health officials have warned not to ease safety restrictions. Experts have said that the most effective way to curb COVID-19’s spread is by wearing masks. With these relaxed restrictions, another surge is possible, especially due to the spreading variants. It is also important to note that wearing masks has turned into somewhat of a partisan symbol; a conservative group plans on having a mask burning party.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo disagreed with the governor’s decision.

Taking away critical public health interventions that are working won’t make Texas communities safer or speed up the return to normalcy,” Hidalgo said, “Every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations.”

Mississippi is also lifting their mask mandate. As states reopen and ease back on safety restrictions, more states could do the same.

A Clark junior who lived in Texas had strong opinions on the matter.

“I believe that Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate is a mistake. Yes, cases have gone down and hopefully will continue to go down, but, that does not mean that covid-19 is not still a threat. Texas is a very large state with a large population, and by taking away every precaution that has proved successful in stopping or slowing the spread of Covid, the number [of] cases [may] go up [and] it [could] lead to water, food, and supply shortages…Texans will most likely begin to panic as they did in the early months of quarantine last year.”