Here are things to know for Wednesday, March 3:
1. Abbott lifts business capacity limits, mask mandate starting next week
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he is lifting business capacity limits and the state’s mask mandate starting next week.
Abbott made the announcement at a news conference in Lubbock.
“Every business that wants to open should be open,” Abbott said.
Abbott said that county judges can institute coronavirus-mitigation measures in their counties if the hospitalization rate rises above 15% for seven consecutive days. However, he said no one can be jailed for failing to follow those protocols or be penalized for not wearing a mask.
2. Houston-area leaders react to governor’s lifting of capacity limits, mask mandate
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.
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.”
3. How Houston-area school districts are responding to Gov. Abbott’s mask mandate
Several Houston-area school districts are responding after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the lifting of business capacity limits and the state’s mask mandate on Tuesday.
Under the executive order, which will go into effect March 10, Abbott added that public schools may operate under the standard health protocols issued by the Texas Education Agency. Private schools and colleges are expected to follow the same standard.
Although TEA says updated public health guidance will come this week in regards to the governor’s executive order, some Houston-area school districts have already issued their plans.
4. Study finds Texas is one of the worst states for children during the pandemic
Texas ranks among the 10 worst states in the nation when it comes to child protection amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study.
Approaching the one-year mark since the pandemic was declared, the international non-profit Save the Children has been able to analyze the burden of COVID-19 on families with children.
Save the Children examined three hardships that it believes most-challenged children in the United States – hunger, lack of tools for remote learning, and difficulty for families to pay bills.
5. Hyperloop Technology: When is it coming to Texas?
The Hyperloop technology could revolutionize ground transportation, it’s set to be faster than high-speed trains by leaps and bounds, with the potential to take passengers from Dallas to Houston in minutes. Traffic Expert Anavid Reyes spoke with AECOM to see when Texas could see this technology.
Hyperloop: What is it?
The concept first coined by Elon Musk in 2013 is still in development by a number of companies worldwide, one of them being AECOM. This is a type of futuristic technology that would be a game changer for ground transportation. A trip that usually takes four hours, for example, Dallas to Houston, could now take you just 20 minutes.