Updated Mar 2, 2021 - Health

Texas to end all coronavirus restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

What they're saying: "It is now time to open Texas 100%," Abbott said Tuesday. "For nearly a half a year, most businesses have been open either 75% or 50%, and during that time, too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities."

  • "Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end," he added.
  • The governor said the restrictions are no longer needed now that the state is more prepared to test for and treat the virus and is vaccinating more of its residents.

By the numbers: Texas reported more than 1,600 new cases and zero new deaths from the virus on Monday, according to the state's coronavirus dashboard.

  • Abbott said Texas gave out 216,000 vaccine shots on Tuesday — a record for the state — and that 5.7 million shots have already been administered in the state.

The big picture: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) also announced Tuesday that the state will lift mask mandates for all counties on Wednesday, saying its "hospitalizations have plummeted, and our case numbers have fallen dramatically as well," according to an ABC affiliate.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday warned states against lifting public health restrictions because coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling" after a recent decline.

  • "With these new statistics, I'm really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19," Walensky said.
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