Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that the statewide mask mandate imposed eight months ago will be lifted starting on March 10, making Texas the largest state in the US to lift its mask mandate amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas businesses will also be able to operate at 100 percent capacity, including bars and restaurants. The CDC and health officials still advise that people wear a mask and avoid crowds to reduce transmission of the virus.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” said Governor Abbott. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
The CDC continues to recommend individuals wear a mask and avoid crowds. CDC data continues to show that rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations are falling after a peak in early January. “While rates are going down, they’re still too high,” CDC officials state. “Help slow the spread by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and avoiding crowds.”