On Texas Independence Day, at a press conference in Lubbock, Governor Abbott announced the lifting of his statewide mask mandate beginning March 10, 2021. The Governor said, “It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
Abbott reminded Texans to not abandon the safe practices that have kept them and others safe and emphasized the need for citizens to consider their own personal safety and the safety of others. Abbott said the announcement does not abandon best practices, but reminds Texans of the individual role they play.
Governor Abbott said this executive order ensures “that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.” As such, businesses may still require employees or customers to follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of a face covering. No jurisdiction will have the ability to impose a penalty of any kind, but businesses can call upon law enforcement to enforce trespassing laws and remove violators at the request of a business establishment or other property owner.
Acknowledging that there would be local government objections to this roll-back, Abbott stated if hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent for seven consecutive days in any of the state’s 22 hospital regions, county judges will have the ability to request reduced capacity and use COVID-19-related mitigation strategies, provided that no jurisdiction imposes penalties on or confinement of anyone for failing to wear a face covering.
Nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities are urged to follow TX Health and Human Services Commission guidance regarding visitations and infection control policies and practices.
Public schools will continue to operate under the minimum standard health protocols found in guidance issued by the Texas Education Agency.
The Governor’s Executive Order may be viewed here.
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