Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the state of Texas will pause any further reopening of its economy for now, a day after he said the state is facing a massive coronavirus outbreak. Even so, he said, “State mandates are no longer necessary because advanced treatments are already available to people with Covid-19, the state can test large numbers of people for the virus every day, and 5.7 million vaccines have already been administered to Texans. Texas has seen an increase in coronavirus cases, with at least 25,297 cases and 663 deaths reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services. In response to this, Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-3) that lifts the mask mandate in Texas and increases the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent.
This means that businesses can now operate without capacity limits and that masks are no longer required in public places. The lifting of the mask mandate has been met with both excitement and concern. On one hand, many Texans are eager to get out after a year of isolation in the pandemic. On the other hand, there are questions about Texas' low level of testing and what is being done to increase capacity.
Even so, the total number of tests conducted as of Monday 290,517 was still approximately 1% of Texas' nearly 29 million inhabitants. In San Antonio, fan availability fell below 70% for the first time Wednesday, Texas Public Radio reported. This is a sign that people are still cautious about attending large gatherings despite the lifting of restrictions. It is important for Texans to continue to practice social distancing and wear masks when possible to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Governor Abbott's decision to lift the mask mandate and open Texas to 100 percent capacity is a step in the right direction for the state's economy. However, it is important for Texans to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and their communities from further spread of Covid-19.