Texas, among others, rush to lift COVID-19 restrictions

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

Texas’s Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday, March 2 that the state will lift the mask mandate and any COVID-19 restrictions in place.

This is a bold move from Gov. Abbott, since no other state has gotten close to this — unless you count Florida. Most states are still on some type of lockdown with COVID-19 procedures and are very cautious.

Abbott also announced that businesses of any type may open 100% beginning March 10.

“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%,” Abbott said.

I can see where Abbott is coming from, it’s been almost an entire year and people want to go back to normal. That’s all I got to justify this.

Abbott continues, saying, “COVID-19 has not suddenly disappeared, but state mandates are no longer needed.”

I had the chance to speak to Isabel Chappa, a student who attends the University of Texas at Austin.

“Living in Texas throughout this pandemic has been extremely disappointing, when it comes to the state of our leadership,” Chappa said.

Chappa continued, saying that only a small percentage of the state is vaccinated and the COVID-19 cases are nowhere near as low as they were at the beginning.

“To put it simply, it’s another demonstration that the Texas government does not care for its people, only money matters,” Chappa said.

Chappa isn’t the only Texas citizen that feels this way either.

New York Times bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald expressed his concern, stating in a tweet, “Texas already has FIVE variants that have turned up: Britain, South Africa, Brazil, New York and California. The NY and CA variants could weaken vaccine effectiveness. Now idiot Greg Abbott throws open the state. Possibly of a vaccine resistant #Abbottvariant is growing.”

Others like Eichenwald have taken to Twitter to express their feelings about the lack of COVID-19 precautions.

Other states have announced that they will do the same in removing mask mandates and adding full business operations.

“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will operate at full capacity with no state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said via Twitter.

Looking at the Mississippi Department of Health data, it looks like the total number of cases as of March 5 has gone down.

Hospitalization for people with confirmed cases and the occurrence of COVID-19 cases have both been on the decline.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced that restaurants in the state will no longer have to adhere to capacity restrictions.

Other states, including Montana, Mississippi and Iowa, have lifted their mask mandates as well.

I think this could lead us in the opposite direction of where we’re trying to go health officials would have to agree, too, stating that this could lead to another surge.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned against the rollbacks that Abbott and Reeves have implemented.

“I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19,” Walensky said.”Please hear me clearly – at this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard earned ground we have gained.

I’ll say I’m not surprised that Texas is the state to do this because it’s a red state and the majority of Republicans don’t see the need for masks, but I’m worried about the increase of cases that’s going to come.