Abbott announces end to mask mandate, other COVID-19 restrictions starting March 10

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the rollback of COVID-19 restrictions in the state while addressing the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

From Montelogo’s restaurant in the Hub City, Abbott said businesses will be allowed to impose their own restrictions, but that he would sign an executive order allowing Texas businesses to open 100 percent starting March 10.

Abbott announced an end to the statewide mask mandate to start March 10 as well. The mandate was first announced July 2, 2020, through an executive order.

According to the new executive order, people in counties not experiencing high hospitalizations are “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings,” but are not required to by law. In addition, jurisdictions in these counties are not allowed to legally mandate people to wear face masks.

Counties in Trauma Service Areas experiencing high hospitalizations are allowed to take some action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to the executive order. The actions are limited, however.

For example, jurisdictions in high hospitalization areas will not be allowed to impose penalties “of any kind” for violations of health restrictions. Jurisdictions will also not be allowed to require businesses to operate at below 50 percent occupancy.

A TSA with “high hospitalizations” is one that has had seven consecutive days where the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients of overall hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent.

TSA B, where Lubbock County is located, fell into that category of having “high hospitalizations” from mid-October until early February.

The executive order officially goes into effect Wednesday, March 10, at 12:01 a.m.

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