The Republican cited natural immunity and vaccinations as reasons for his decision.
“It would be inappropriate to require people who already have immunity to wear a mask,” the Republican governor told KPRC-TV on Wednesday. “But also, what we know is, everyone watching the show and in the state of Texas know exactly what the standards are and if they want to adopt them in order to help protect themselves.”
“The medical component, as we all know, is that one of the things that dramatically reduces, if not eliminates, the possibility of getting COVID or even getting the delta variant of COVID is getting a vaccine,” he added.
During a press conference later in the day, Abbott said the state was “past the time of government mandates” and “into the time for personal responsibility.”
In early March, Abbott ended the statewide mask mandate and vowed to reopen Texas “100%.”
“This must end,” he said at the time. “It is now time to open Texas 100%. Everybody who wants to work should have that opportunity. Every business that wants to be open should be open.”
“I am issuing a new executive order that rescinds most of the earlier executive orders. Effective next Wednesday, all businesses of any type are allowed to open 100%. That includes any type of entity in Texas. Also, I am ending the statewide mask mandate,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued in May said face coverings are not necessary in most circumstances for those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Texas previously had a host of restrictions on gatherings, businesses, and religious worship centers. State officials mandated social distancing practices, bars were limited to six people per table, and face masks were required for barbershop employees, among other ordinances.
Abbott issued an executive order in May banning government entities, including public schools, from mandating masks.
“The Lone Star State continues to defeat COVID-19 through the use of widely available vaccines, antibody therapeutic drugs, and safe practices utilized by Texans in our communities,” he said at the time. “Texans, not government, should decide their best health practices, which is why masks will not be mandated by public school districts or government entities. We can continue to mitigate COVID-19 while defending Texans’ liberty to choose whether or not they mask up.”
Data show, as of press time, a roughly 160% surge in COVID-19 cases in Texas over the last two weeks, with a 59% increase in hospitalizations and an 8% jump in deaths. A total of 43% of Texans have been fully vaccinated, while 50% have received at least one dose.
The country as a whole has endured a 195% uptick in positives with a 42% increase in deaths.
Source: Washington Examiner : Texas Gov. Abbott refuses to impose new mask mandate