Freedomroo – As Texas Mask Mandate Nears End, Experts Plead for Vigilance

As Texas Mask Mandate Nears End, Experts Plead for Vigilance

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Abbott’s decision will trigger a wave of similar decisions by other governors eager to lift restrictions. On the same afternoon as Mr. Abbott’s speech, the governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, also a Republican, announced he was lifting the statewide mask mandate and rescinding capacity limits on businesses there.

“We continue to suggest that you do the right thing,” said Mr. Reeves, who, like Mr. Abbott, urged people to continue to wear masks despite the lifting of the state order. The precautions remain the same, Mr. Reeves said; the difference is that “the government is no longer telling you what you can and cannot do.”

In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Reeves acknowledged Mr. Biden’s “Neanderthal” comment and pushed back: “Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”

Under the new orders in Texas and Mississippi, private businesses can maintain mask requirements. Many appeared on Wednesday to do just that, with Target and Macy’s among the largest to say face coverings would remain mandatory in Texas stores. Masks will be optional for customers in H-E-B, a popular grocery store in Texas.

Under Mississippi’s order, cities and counties can still impose local mask mandates, while in Texas, a jurisdiction can impose restrictions only if Covid-19 hospitalizations rise above a certain level. And even then, people cannot be penalized by local governments for not wearing masks.

Dr. Mary Carol Miller, a physician at Greenwood Leflore Hospital in the Mississippi Delta, said that even a lightly enforced statewide mask order was helpful, sending the message that the virus was still circulating and that masks were the best protection. Without the order, she saw weeks ahead of more sickness, hospitalizations and deaths in a part of the country where the pandemic has already been devastating.

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