Houston-area leaders react to governor’s lifting of capacity limits, mask mandate

HOUSTON – Houston leaders responded Tuesday to the governor’s announcement on reopening Texas 100% and ending the statewide mask mandate during the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 500,000 Americans since the start of the outbreak in the nation.

Both Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester expressed how disappointed they are with Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision, while others agreed with the decision.

‘This decision was wrong’: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reacts

Turner was in the middle of a city council meeting when he received messages of the announcement.

“Let me just say, this is the wrong direction for the state of Texas and this decision needs to be criticized and condemn in every part of the state,” he said. “We are still in the midst of dealing with this coronavirus. The variants are still out there. Less than 10 to 15% of the people in the state of Texas have been vaccinated.”

Turner said Houston is a long way from immunity and stated as of Tuesday, there are 1,200 people in the hospital in the area. He said although the number is going down, the city is still not where it was in September-October.

“The positivity rate in the city of Houston a little over 11%. We are still not where we should be, 5% or below -- and staying there,” the mayor said. “There is no medically justifiable reason or scientific reason for businesses in the state of Texas to be operating 100%. And certainly, there is no reason, no justifiable medical reason for the statewide mask order to be dropped.”

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