Texas is not the first state to end a statewide restriction for people to wear masks in public, fifteen other states do not have a mask mandate or never adopted one in the first place, according to AARP.
New executive order
Under a new executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas will become one of 16 states without a statewide order mandating masks in public to prevent the growth of the coronavirus. The order will overrule previous safety measures executed by Abbott aimed to protect people amid a global pandemic. That has caused more than 515,000 deaths in the United States, including more than 43,000 fatalities in Texas.
Abbott said on Tuesday that it is time for the state to completely reopen, as COVID-19 hospitalizations are reducing across the state and more people are getting vaccines for the coronavirus.
The new executive order, which is to take effect on 10 March, ends all mask requirements and disallows local authorities from punishing residents who do not wear a face mask.
It lifts all restrictions on businesses in counties without a high number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.
Soon after Mr. Abbott’s announcement, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he would implement the same in an even shorter time frame.
“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,” Mr. Reeves said.
The US states that do not have a state-wide mask mandate
As of March 1, according to the AARP, the following states also do not have state-wide face mask mandate:
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Mr. Abbott said in a speech at the Chamber of Commerce at Lubbock. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end.”
Gov. Abbott first implemented the statewide mask mandate on July 2. Texans had to wear masks in public for a total of about eight months during the pandemic, which spread in the state in March 2020.
Health experts have cautioned that the pandemic is not yet over and cases could arise if restrictions were lifted too soon.
Whereas, President Biden has advised Americans to remain cautious in wearing masks and keeping social distancing.