The light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic tunnel is beginning to come into focus in the great state of Texas as Governor Greg Abbott announced an executive order to lift the state’s mask mandates and remove all restrictions on businesses and restaurants.
“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott declared. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”
“So today, I’m issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders,” Abbott said. “Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I’m ending the statewide mask mandate.”
“Today’s announcement does not abandon the safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year,” Abbott said. “Instead, it’s a reminder that each person has their own role to play in their own personal safety as well as in the safety of others. 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.”
Abbot also mentioned the state would surpass seven million vaccines delivered to the state by next Wednesday and that “over half of our seniors will have received a vaccine shot and by the end of this month, every senior who wants a vaccine shot will be able to get a vaccine shot.”
Though no state mandated restrictions, individual businesses will own the option to implement their own mitigation strategies if they see fit.
Abbott did warn against citizens blindly throwing themselves back into pre-COVID-19 life, reminding Texans that the virus hadn’t “suddenly disappeared” because the lockdowns had ended.
However, as cases in the United States surge, health officials warn against drastic rollbacks on lockdowns and restrictions, believing the move will only send confusing messages of the severity of the pandemic and cause people to make poor decisions, only worsening the pandemic.
“We think it’s premature,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Phil Huang told Dallas County commissioners. “It’s still too early. We’d all love to get back to normal. [But] it’s not the time to relax.”
Nearing the one-year anniversary of the first wave of lockdowns, the time to let citizens make their own decisions regarding their health and safety has long passed. Since so many months have passed since the initial lockdown last March, we have forgotten the lockdowns are an inherent short-term measure. Intentionally suffocating the economy only hopes to spread out cases to prevent overwhelming our healthcare system, a threshold America hasn’t come close to, but only temporarily. Prolonged lockdowns cannot be sustained safely, eventually crumbling under the weight of economic urgency and a secondary pandemic of mental health breakdowns.
For Americans who desperately need help, a bloated 1.9 trillion dollar relief bill with roughly 5% of the legislation dedicated to directly helping struggling citizens was passed in the House but will face an uphill battle in the Senate as the American system of checks and balances kicks in. Therefore, the solution to pulling the American economy out of the pandemic should center on allowing America to help itself, with extra government support beams for those struggling most, a truth Abbott understands.