It's been about a year since the nation went under lockdown using safety protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic. Case numbers are starting to look better due to the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, however, health officials and health experts are still urging Americans to social distance and continue to keep wearing masks. This week, Gov. Greg Abbott decided to remove the statewide mask mandate as well as open Texas completely, going against the CDC's guidelines. Some businesses are overjoyed, however, many chains such as Whataburger, Target, and Costco, have spoken up and shared that their locations will still have mask requirements.
Every Chain Requiring Texans to Wear Masks
— News 4 San Antonio (@News4SA) March 3, 2021
- Whole Foods
- Best Buy
Chain's no longer enforcing face coverings include H-E-B and Albertsons, however, they are keeping a mask order for their employees to follow.
When does the Texas mask mandate end?
The Texas Mask Mandate ends on March 10.
Texas Governor Ends Statewide Mask Mandate
Abbott's announcement comes as 7,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported daily as well as 200 reported deaths per day. The reopening announcement came two weeks after a deadly winter storm hit left areas of Texas such as Austin, Houston, and San Antonio without power and water for multiple days.
Clay Jenkins, the county judge of Dallas County, said the governor "absolutely" decided to reopen the state to distract residents from the sky-high electricity bills and credit card balances they faced after the storm.
"This gives people something to talk about other than the state's failure to protect the power grid," he said in an interview with CNN.
NEW: President Biden calls Texas and Mississippi decisions to end mask mandates “a big mistake" and criticizes what he views as “Neanderthal thinking” after CDC warned against complacency in the face of emerging coronavirus variants on Monday. pic.twitter.com/Mmdln3gNG6
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 3, 2021
According to President Joe Biden, Republican Gov. Greg Abbot's rollbacks of capacity limits and face mask use is "a big mistake" that reflected "Neanderthal thinking."
"The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask and forget it," Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House. "It's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science."