Governor Greg Abbott of Texas announced on Tuesday an executive order to rescind all previous coronavirus restrictions, declaring that his state of Texas is "open 100%."
Nearly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic swept into the United States, Abbott said businesses in his state would be free to fully reopen. Additionally, the governor is revoking the statewide mask mandate beginning on Wednesday.
Abbott made clear that his new orders were not an indication that he believes the virus has vanished.
"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," the governor said during a press conference.
Increased vaccinations have added to the already declining numbers of positive tests, and more importantly, hospitalizations in Texas. Abbott said it is just a matter of months before everyone who wants to be vaccinated can be.
Abbott's decision does not mean that masks, capacity restrictions, and social distancing measures will disappear entirely from the Lonestar State. Individual businesses and citizens will have the right to implement whatever safety protocol they wish to enact for their own establishments.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who has favored heavy-handed government restrictions in his own state of California took time away from his impending recall election to criticize Abbott's decision as "absolutely reckless."