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Thomas Gallatin / March 3, 2021

Texas Ends 100% of Its COVID Restrictions

Gov. Abbott announces mask mandates and limits on businesses will end next week.

Texans will soon be enjoying the end of state-mandated coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates and limits on businesses. Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott announced, “It is now time to open Texas 100%.” He explained, “[I am] issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate.”

Abbott noted, “Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small-business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end.” Yet he made clear that he was not suggesting that the coronavirus was no longer a threat, stating, “COVID still exists in Texas, the United States, and across the globe, but it is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, from the reduced hospitalizations, and from the safe practices Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”

Texans are competent to manage “their own personal safety,” and by so doing they help to manage the safety of others, Abbott said. “It’s a reminder that individual safety is managed every day as a matter of personal responsibility rather than by government mandate. Individual responsibility is a corollary to individual freedom. We can have both.” He further advised, “Texans should continue following medical advice on preventing COVID just as they do on other medical issues.”

Texas is not the first state to end all COVID restricts, but it is the most populated one to do so.

Predictably, Abbott’s announcement brought criticism from none other than Mr. Lockdown himself — California Governor Gavin Newsom. He blasted the decision as “absolutely reckless.” Yeah, and it’s not at all like dining maskless, as Newsom hypocritically did back in November. Meanwhile in California, 96% of residents remain locked down under the most restricted level of Newsom’s color-tier threat-assessment system.

The embattled governor, facing a potential recall, has maintained that his draconian lockdown measure is the only responsible approach to confronting the pandemic, even as California now leads the nation in the number of COVID deaths, followed by New York. Texas, the second-most populated state, has experienced nearly 10,000 fewer COVID deaths than California and nearly 5,000 fewer than New York, a state that has also maintained draconian restrictions.

If Newsom’s efforts to fight COVID were so effective, why the higher number of deaths and higher number of cases? On top of this, why is it that Californians are fleeing the Golden State and are moving to freer, less restrictive places … like Texas?

Newsom might have an argument if his measures were demonstrably working, but the truth is they are not. Meanwhile, Californians are forced to suffer under often nonsensical government rules while Texans are free to live life, taking responsibility for their own health. One governor prizes individual rights and freedom, while the other prizes government power and control. Which would you rather live under?

Update: President Joe Biden likewise slammed the idea of dumping mask mandates, saying, “The last thing we need is neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask and forget it.”

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