Daily US Times: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the state will lift its mask mandate and allow businesses to reopen at full capacity next week.
The Republican governor said on Tuesday: “It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
Texas is the largest state in the US to end its mask mandate. Governor Abbott has faced criticism from his party over the measure, which was imposed last July.
But the Biden administration has made it clear coronavirus restrictions are still necessary.
Texas has recorded more than 43,000 Covid-19 related deaths, the third highest state toll in the US.
Mr Abbott announced he was lifting of the coronavirus restrictions in a speech at the Chamber of Commerce in the city of Lubbock on Tuesday.
He said: “Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end.”
The governor said that with increased vaccinations and improved treatment for coronavirus, the state was “in a far better position now”.
He added: “Covid has not suddenly disappeared, but state mandates are no longer needed.”
Mr Abbott’s new executive order will take effect on 10 March. It rescinds most of his earlier executive orders related to the coronavirus crisis.
Individual states are in charge of public health policy in the United States. At the start of the pandemic, most introduced restrictions on businesses and travel.
Shortly after Mr Abbott’s announcement, the Governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves said he would do the same in an even shorter time frame.
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