The governors of Texas and Mississippi both announced Tuesday that they are lifting mask mandates and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity even as the decline in daily Covid-19 cases slows and federal officials urge states to exercise caution.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news briefing at Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock that he will issue a new executive order that rescinds most of his previous Covid-19 restrictions, including a statewide mask mandate.
He added that all businesses would be allowed to open “100%,” effective March 10, 2021.
The US administration under Joe Biden voiced his disapproval of states like Texas and Mississippi lifting mask mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions, calling it a “mistake” and “Neanderthal thinking,” a term that ruffled a few feathers.
Many prominent liberals have blasted the governors of Texas and Mississippi for moving away from lock down restrictions, despite both states still continuing vaccine distribution plans.
Some, like filmmaker Michael Moore and political commentator Keith Olbermann, have even suggested that Texas residents should not be afforded the vaccine following Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement this week.
Biden’s “Neanderthal thinking” remark, however, has earned push back from many, including the governor of Mississippi, who slammed the “insult” from the president.
Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” Abbott said, speaking in a crowded dining room where many were not wearing masks. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.
At roughly the same time as Abbott’s remarks, Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced at a separate news briefing that he is rescinding all county mask mandates and removing statewide restrictions on nearly all businesses.
I am replacing our current orders with recommendations,” Reeves said. “The only rules that will remain in this order are a capacity limit of 50% on indoor arenas and those that govern K-12 schools.
Reeves and Abbott both cited the declining number of new Covid-19 cases and the increasing availability of vaccines as reasons for ending the restrictions.
And while Covid-19 vaccines are increasingly available across the country, scientists with the CDC have warned that the country is far from herd immunity, which is when enough people have immunity from the virus can’t spread throughout the community.
CNBC / ABC Flash Point Medical News 2021.