Governors of Texas and Mississippi announced Tuesday that they will lift their state’s mask mandates, as well as lift the restrictions on businesses and facility capacity back to 100%. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the mandates are no longer needed due to advancements of vaccines and therapeutics to protect against COVID-19. The new executive order goes into effect on Wednesday, March 10, rescinding most earlier executive orders related to the coronavirus. Abbott said in address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce: “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus. 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.” He said the new order ensures “that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves made a similar announcement, tweeting, “Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”
The moves come just days after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned that progress in the U.S. against the virus was “stalling,’ adding: “Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions.” However both states have seen declines in the average daily number of new cases of COVID-19. Texas has administered more than 5.5 million doses of vaccine. About 12.7% of Texans have received at least one dose, and 6.5% are fully vaccinated. In Mississippi, some 14.1% of the state’s residents have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 7.6% are fully vaccinated. The state has administered more than 630,000 doses.
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