Texas and Mississippi have declared that they will be lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. This decision comes a day after the CDC director warned states that “now is not the time” to remove coronavirus restrictions.
Additionally, businesses in the states will be given green light to work at full capacity.
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texas by opening Texas at 100 percent,” said Governor Greg Abbott in a statement yesterday.
The new executive order will take effect on March 10th.
“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.
In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves said on Twitter: “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 the time!”
White House and CDC response
These announcements come at a time when vaccinations are happening across the United States and the number of new cases and deaths has plateaued. Moreover, during the weekend, news broke out that a third vaccine was approved for emergency use,
The White House announced there would be enough vaccines for all U.S adults by May. However, the President reiterated his statements from the campaign and ask the country to keep taking the needed precautions and continue masking.
However, health officials are still stating that the COVID-19 restrictions have to remain intact. In a statement, CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, warned against massive re-openings and mask mandates removals.
“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, not when we are so close,” she said.
The public’s opinion – left and right clash
On Twitter, it seems like the virus is a different thing, depending on where you stand on the political spectrum.
Left-wing supporters, House and Senate Democrats have come out and criticized Republican states for re-opening. Many claim that this will disproportionally affect minorities and raise the overall risk for the country.
On the other hand, conservatives were celebrating freedom and making light of the concerns that Democrats have.
According to many, this is the path we have to take to return to normalcy and that a year of restrictions has been more than enough. Many claim that there is no more need for a state mandate. They suggest that those who are fearful, can still remain at home and double-mask.