Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he is rescinding the statewide mask mandate that’s been in place since last July, and is also allowing businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity.
“I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” Abbott said during a press conference Tuesday, sparking a round of applause. He also added that any businesses that want to open to the public, including bars and restaurants, are now free to do so, declaring that "Texas is open for business!"
Abbott added that while businesses still have the right to implement their own mandates, no one can be prosecuted at the county level for not complying with a mask requirement, and that county restrictions on business capacities cannot exceed 50 percent.
"We are relieved that Texas now has better tools and more knowledge than ever before to help our fellow Texans combat COVID. Today's announcement does not abandon the same practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” he added.
The governor cited falling COVID cases and increased vaccination efforts for why his state is ready to reopen. Last week, Abbott said Texas would be quickly vaccinating seniors in nursing homes and would be ready to move to third-tier vaccinations for lower-risk populations by the end of the month.
Texas has already vaccinated more than 2 million residents.
(Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore)