Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced all state businesses can fully reopen and has ended its statewide mask mandate. The announcement was made via video and released in an executive order by the governor.
Speaking by video in Lubbock, Governor Abbott shared, “Today, I’m issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders,” Abbott said. “Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%…. also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate.”
The governor clearly noted Texans cannot be fined or punished for not wearing a mask in the state. His announcement noted, “Under no circumstance can someone be punished for not wearing a mask.”
However, Governor Abbott also warned, “Today’s announcement does not abandon the safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it’s a reminder that each person has their own role to play in their own personal safety as well as in the safety of others. It’s a reminder that individual safety is managed every day as a matter of personal responsibility rather than by government mandate. Individual responsibility is a corollary to individual freedom, we can have both.”
The governor reported Texas will have already offered half of the state’s seniors a vaccine shot to every senior who wants one by this week. The state has also deployed more than 1,100 National Guard troops to assist with statewide efforts. Texas additionally announced plans to administer the Johnson & Johnson single vaccine shot, according to the governor’s speech.
Representing the nation’s second most populated state, the example of Texas will certainly have an impact on decisions made in other states across the nation. Mississippi has prepared a similar rollback of mask mandates, with additional states discussing new plans.
In contrast, President Biden has most recently stated America can get “back to normal” next year. Dr. Fauci has warned against returning to normal life until late 2021 or even 2022.
Why the vast differences in response to COVID-19? Americans are increasingly realizing the virus did not shut America down; the government did. State’s with leadership embracing limited government are recognizing the need to remove required lockdowns and mask wearing as soon as possible.
Further, the example of Florida has garnered the notice of many Americans. While San Francisco has gone an entire year without in-person education, Florida’s schools have safely operated since last fall. The limitations on businesses in Florida have been far fewer than elsewhere in the country, with the economy flourishing while New York businesses continue to shut down or find themselves unable to pay rent.
Yes, COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the lives of many Americans. Yet this does not mean we need government to force people to remain locked in their homes for long periods of time. Instead, when states utilize a common-sense approach, America’s hard-working citizens and students can flourish. May God bless Texas and may others follow their lead!