St. Patrick’s Day marks first holiday since statewide mask order was lifted

HOUSTON – Some bars and businesses along Houston’s Washington Avenue were decorated in green for St. Patrick’s Day, marking the first big celebratory night since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in Texas.

“It’s been a year since we’ve been locked up and it’s been nice to get out and about,” said a Houston resident Jason Griffin, who decided to head out early. “We thought that this would be a good time to kind of have a few drinks and head home before it gets crazy.”

Wednesday also marked one week since Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate and allowed businesses to open at 100% capacity. Business owners can decide whether to require face coverings or not.

“It’s been a lot less people than it’s been before but some people wearing masks, some people are not,” said a man named Bud, who had a green mask to match his outfit.

Last week, some leaders in the Houston area criticized the governor’s decision to lift restrictions. But roughly a year after the pandemic was first declared, some people said they were ready to hit the town.

“I’m happy to see everybody out,” said Cypress resident Michael Mendoza. “It’s Texas. Weather’s wonderful and after that freeze there, it’s a very good time to be outside these days.”