Texas and Mississippi to lift mask mandates and roll back Covid restrictions
Gov. Greg Abbott announced the end of the mask mandate Tuesday.
The governors of Texas and Mississippi both announced on Tuesday they would be lifting their states' mask mandates and rolling back many of their Covid-19 health mandates, just one day after the CDC warned against complacency in the face of emerging coronavirus variants.
"It is now time to open Texas 100 percent," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday afternoon at Montelongo's Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock.
"Covid has not suddenly disappeared," he said, "but state mandates are no longer needed."
Shortly after Abbott's announcement, Gov. Tate Reeves announced that he would end Mississippi's statewide mask mandate, effective Wednesday of this week.
"Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed," Reeves tweeted. "It is time!"
On Monday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky strongly cautioned against the very rollbacks that Abbott and Reeves were about to implement.
"I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19," Walensky said at the daily White House Covid-19 briefing.
"Please hear me clearly," Walensky said. "At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard earned ground we have gained."
President Joe Biden echoed those concerns Tuesday, even as he announced the U.S. will have enough Covid-19 vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May.
"This fight is far from over," Biden said. "Though we celebrate the news ... I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, wear masks."
Abbott said his new executive order would rescind "most" of his prior Covid-19 executive orders, and that all businesses would be allowed to open "100 percent," effective March 10.