Texas Drops COVID-19 Restrictions, Including Mask Mandates
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that his state will be moving away from all COVID-19 restrictions. In fact, the Governor said:
“It is time to open Texas 100%”
These sweeping changes will go into effect on Wednesday, March 10th. Governor Abbott said that he will allow Texas businesses to open at "100%" next week. With the moves, Texas is now the biggest state to heavily roll back on COVID restrictions, like mask mandates.
The only two states who have faced more COVID-19 deaths than Texas were New York and California, who both had far stricter COVID policies during the pandemic. Both of those states also carry stricter COVID rules now.
There has been a change to how Texas will handle COVID mitigation based on these changes. Early in the pandemic, Governor Abbott took power away from local and regional officials to put in COVID restrictions tougher than the ones he created. But now Abbott is giving power back to the local level. According to ABC News, Abbott will allow county officials to put in stronger local mitigation measures if COVID hospitalizations top 15% of regional capacity.
Texas has taken some of the strongest stances in COVID restriction rollbacks, but they're not alone. Last week Arkansas lifted most restrictions in the state, while today Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced a move to the final phase of Louisiana's reopening plan. Even states like Michigan, who had some of the toughest COVID restrictions in the country, have started to rollback their restrictions and reopen the state.