Texas governor lifts coronavirus mask mandate, says all businesses can reopen

The governor of Texas lifted most of the state’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions, allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity as of next week and telling residents that masks were no longer required.

The move by Governor Greg Abbott marks the furthest any U.S. state has so far gone to roll back harsh restrictions on businesses and residents imposed by political leaders in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Biden to immediately ask Americans for 100 days of wearing masks after swearing-in

“It is now time to open Texas 100 per cent,” Abbott said at an afternoon news briefing. The full lifting of the mandates will take effect on March 1, he said.

Abbott’s order comes as COVID-19 infections have plummeted in recent weeks across much of the world, including the United States.

Click to play video '‘You’re making a difference,’ says Biden of his mask mandate as he implores citizens to follow their ‘patriotic duty’' 0:57 ‘You’re making a difference,’ says Biden of his mask mandate as he implores citizens to follow their ‘patriotic duty’

‘You’re making a difference,’ says Biden of his mask mandate as he implores citizens to follow their ‘patriotic duty’ – Feb 19, 2021

According to a Reuters tally roughly 68,240 new cases have been reported on average each day this week, or 27 per cent of the peak daily average reported on Jan. 7.

The United States has recorded 28,681,793 infections and 513,721 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

© 2021 Reuters

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