(ConservativePeak.com)- Texas Governor Greg Abbott is making moves to fully reopen his state.
On Tuesday, he announced at a meeting of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce that he’s issuing an executive order to lift the state’s mask mandate and reopen all businesses. Abbott, a Republican, said all businesses will be able to reopen at 100% starting March 10, no matter what industry they’re in.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
Texas isn’t the only southern state making this move. On Tuesday, Tate Reeves, the governor of Mississippi, announced that all county mask mandates would end this week, and businesses there could open at 100% capacity as well. He tweeted:
“Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”
The announcements by Abbott and Reeves were welcomed by a lot of people who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic because their businesses have been shuttered. Confirmed cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have dropped in just about all parts of the country over the last few weeks.
All along, health experts are warning that relaxing restrictions now could lead to a quick spike in cases and another possible surge. They are particularly concerned as a few variants of the virus are spreading in the country.
Linda Hidalgo, Harris County’s judge, disagreed with Abbott’s decision. In a statement, she said:
“Taking away critical health interventions” that are currently working won’t help make communities in Texas safer or speed up the ultimate return to normal life. She said America is “inching closer to the finish line of this pandemic.”
The statement continued:
“Every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations. Now is not the time to reverse the gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve. At best, today’s decision is wishful thinking. At worst, it is a cynical attempt to distract Texans from the failures of state oversight of our power grid.”
Somewhat surprisingly, a lobbying group for the retail industry, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, is against the move. Spokesman Jason Brewer said in a statement:
“Relaxing common-sense safety protocols like wearing masks is a mistake. Going backwards on safety measures will unfairly put retail employees back in the role of enforcing guidelines still recommended by the CDC and other public health advocates. It could also jeopardize the safety of pharmacies and grocers that are gearing up as vaccination centers.”
But, Abbott said that Texans have “mastered the daily habits to avoid getting COVID.” He said that 5.7 million shots of the vaccine have been administered in Texas, the state has a personal protective equipment surplus and that “10 million Texans have recovered from COVID.”
Still, he warned residents of Texas that they needed to be cautious with how they proceed. He said:
“Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility and caring for your family members, friends and others in your community. People and businesses don’t need the state telling them how to operate.”