The announcement comes at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to medical officials. Only about 6.5% of Texas residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley immediately lifted the mask mandate for county businesses and their patrons. The county had an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time in eight days on Tuesday.
I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.
I also ended the statewide mask mandate.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
Pursuant to today’s announcement by Governor Abbott, I will immediately be rescinding my Executive Order requiring face coverings on businesses and their patrons. #TarrantCounty
— Tarrant County Judge - B. Glen Whitley (@judge_whitley) March 2, 2021
The state reported more than 1,600 new coronavirus cases and 59 deaths on Monday.
Although new cases and deaths have declined over the past month, experts fear premature mandates lifting safety guidelines such as masks and business capacity could instigate another spike; especially with so few Texans having been vaccinated.
“We still have 100,000 cases a day. We still have somewhere between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths per day,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And yet we see some communities relaxing some of their mitigation strategies. We are nowhere out of the woods.
The news was swiftly greeted with strong reactions on social media. Most, especially those from outside of Texas, were critical of the move as “RIP Texas” started trending on Twitter.
Congratulations on making it through the storm. Greg Abbott will murder you now.
— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) March 2, 2021
— Mike Doocy (@MikeDoocyFox4) March 2, 2021
I’m still wearing my mask!
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) March 2, 2021
Hear me out here. What if Greg Abbott's re-election strategy is just to let everyone complaining about him die?
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) March 2, 2021
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) March 2, 2021
#Rangers aren't yet sure how Gov. Abbott's order to reopen Texas businesses at 100% will affect seating at Globe Life Field. Latest guideline for sports venues was 50%.
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) March 2, 2021
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) March 2, 2021
The DFW Hospital Council on @GovAbbott’s announcement:
“Governor’s Abbott’s decision to remove the mask mandate in Texas is very unfortunate and could increase community spread of COVID-19 and potentially cause mutations...”https://t.co/IIKLurj2Gp @NBCDFW pic.twitter.com/LFTJNJ66jq
— Bonnie Moon (@bonniemoon) March 2, 2021
So Covid is not over we're just going to act like it is? Got it https://t.co/rPZpc50RTC
— George Dunham (@GeorgeDunham) March 2, 2021
This is what happens when you're desperate for people to stop asking you about all the deaths from the Texas freeze. Pivot. Distract. (It works btw)
— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) March 2, 2021
Moments ago, on the day 25 new deaths raise @dallascountytx death toll above 3k, @GovAbbott lifted all his state orders designed to protect you and those you care about from #COVID19. You should focus on what doctors,facts and science say is safe; not on what Gov. says is legal! pic.twitter.com/6dS5LrpNOY
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) March 2, 2021