A mask mandate in Texas came to an end on Wednesday amid a loosening of restrictions that were meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The move -- announced last week by Governor Greg Abbott -- also allows all businesses in the state to reopen 100% amid declines in new daily coronavirus cases and with the rollout of vaccines.
Some view it as freedom: "We don’t want a government imposed mandate.”
Others as foolishness: "I think they are spiking the football at the 90 yard line. We’re almost there, man this has been hard.”
On paper, the rollback of coronavirus restrictions in Texas is the most sweeping seen in the United States, along with a similar measure in Mississippi.
Yet vast swaths of Texas have rarely even enforced mask or occupancy mandates in the past year.
Under Abbott's order, county officials in regions where COVID patients take up 15% or more of hospital beds for seven consecutive days can enact NEW mask and occupancy restrictions but no regions are currently in that situation.
In Austin, the city council voted to still require masks - and dared state officials to sue the city.
The Texas Education Agency’s guidance for public schools is for the continued use of masks, while nursing homes in the state will not loosen restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Jewish Conservatives organization plans to host a party Wednesday evening with about 200 people. There will be a moment of silence for the pandemic’s dead then a bonfire into which folks will be encouraged to toss masks.