HOUSTON – Texas is only five days away from the end of the mask mandate. It was the first of 15 states to announce a rollback in COVID-19 restrictions. With the new rollbacks comes pushback from local and national leaders.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would lift the mask mandate starting March 10 and allow businesses to open at 100% capacity.
He received backlash from leaders nationwide, including from President Joe Biden, who called the decision a “big mistake” and “neanderthal thinking.”
Abbott responded to the criticism saying he still encourages Texans to mask up, but health trends signal it’s time to “go back to normal.”
“The difference is that for a year now Texans, as well as Americans, have learned that the safe standard … is to wear a mask,” Abbott said. “Because they know that standard, do they really need the state to tell them what they already know for their own personal behavior?”
Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci also disagreed with Abbott’s decision.
“You don’t want to go from very stringent public health restrictions to just turning it off and saying, ‘That’s it. Just let anybody do what they want,’” Fauci said. “You particularly don’t want to do that when you have a high level of community spread, which is what we have now.”