March 28, 2021 / Source: The Bizz USA
By Isabelle Sitchon; Edited by Haarika Kalahasti
It’s no stranger to all that Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has lifted the mandatory mask mandate in Texas. On March 2, 2021, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34, which would open up 100% of Texan businesses and facilities.
“Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity,” Governor Abbott said in his press conference. “Every business that wants to be open should be open.”
With the recent decline in COVID-19 cases and numerous vaccines being administered to the public, Abbott decided that it was best to end the mask mandate and open Texas back up once again. The executive order allowed businesses, including sporting events and concerts, to operate at 100%, without the requirement of masks by the government starting March 10. Those who choose not to wear masks in public places will not be “legally penalized”, as opposed to Abbott’s restrictions last year.
"People and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." Governor Abbott said.
For most businesses across Texas, it’s been a struggle dealing with the lifted mask mandate. While they may still impose mask and social distancing requirements, there is no legal obligation that orders customers to abide by their guidelines. Many establishments, including Legend Diner in Denton, Texas, have taken measures to ensure that their patrons wear a mask. Before walking into the restaurant, customers will see a sign that reads: “Our new surcharge: $50- If I have to explain why masks are mandatory, $75- If I have to hear why you disagree.”
Regardless of Governor Abbott’s executive order, many establishments have continued to withhold their COVID-19 policies. However, some Texans refuse to still wear a mask.
“This is a violation of law,” a man said to Trader Joe’s workers after being reprimanded for not wearing a mask while shopping with his children. “...I have a right, a civil right to shop in places that are open to the public.”
Not only have businesses been hesitant towards the “open” policies, but Texan politicians and officials have been as well.
“...Our governor opening up Texas 100% at this point is unwise,” John Ferguson, mayor of the City of Presidio, said on his Facebook page. “It is too early, and lives may be unnecessarily put at risk.”
Surprisingly, Texas COVID-19 rates have steadily decreased over the past two weeks. The number of reported cases has dropped by more than two thousand. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there has yet to be a spike in COVID cases. However, the CDC has stated that “now is not the time to release all restrictions”.
“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” CDC director Dr. Walensky said in a press briefing on March 1, 2021. “These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
As Texas officially became 100% open on March 10, there have been several disagreements from both sides regarding the risks of COVID-19. However, we hope you continue to abide by the guidelines put into place by businesses and facilities so that everyone may remain safe and healthy.
"We have to keep washing our hands, staying socially distanced," president Joe Biden said in a March conference with the House Democratic caucus. "And for God’s sake, wear your mask."