Governor lifts statewide mask mandate, opens Texas 100%
See full City of Fort Worth article here.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday issued an executive order lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100%.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100%. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed. Today's announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”
While masks are no longer required statewide, individual businesses may still require patrons to wear masks or follow other sanitary measures in their establishment.
During his remarks, Abbott discussed the advancements that Texas has made that allow the state to open fully and lift the mask mandate, noting the rapid increase of vaccines. Nearly 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans, and the state is now administering almost 1 million shots each week.
The executive order rescinds most of the governor's earlier executive orders related to COVID-19. Effective March 10, all businesses of any type may open to 100% capacity. Additionally, the order ends the statewide mask mandate in Texas. Businesses may still limit capacity or implement additional safety protocols at their own discretion.
If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a county judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, county judges may not impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders nor may any penalties be imposed for failing to wear a face mask.
If restrictions are imposed at a county level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity.
To learn more about the new order, contact the City of Fort Worth COVID-19 hotline via email or at 817-392-8478.