Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100%.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texas by opening Texas 100%. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations and safe practices that Texas are suing that state mandates are no longer needed. Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texas 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.”
During his remarks, held in Lubbock where he was addressing the Chamber of Commerce, Abbott discussed the advancements Texas has made allowing the state to fully open and lift the mask mandate. Nearly 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans and the state is now administering nearly one million shots each week. The governor estimates that about 7 million shots will have been administered in Texas. According to a news release, by the end of March, every senior who wants a vaccine should be able to get one.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the state’s 22 hospital regions get above 15% of bed capacity for seven straight days, a county judge in the region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies; however, county judges may not impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders nor can they impose penalties for not wearing a face mask. If restrictions are imposed at a county level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity.
The executive order rescinds most of Abbott’s earlier executive orders related to COVID-19 and goes into effect Wednesday, Mar. 10. All businesses in Texas can reopen at 100%. The order also ends the statewide mask mandate. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion.
From Staff Reports • [email protected]