On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas announced that he was lifting the mandate on wearing masks and was also permitting all businesses in the state to resume operations starting March 10. Gov. Abbott passed and executive order (GA-34) and made the announcement at a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce event.

“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent,” said Gov. Abbott. In a display of cautious optimism, Gov. Abbott further said, “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 required.”

According to a statement released by the Governor’s office, nearly 5.7 million vaccine shots have been administered to Texans and the state is administering almost 1 million shots each week. It also has the capacity to conduct 100,000 COVID tests per day.

On the same day, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi also an end to the mask mandate in his state staring Wednesday. “With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny,” he said.

But both governors have drawn sharp criticism for a move that is being seen by many as both, premature and dangerous.

Soon #RIPTexas started trending on Twitter:

Recently, the death toll from COVID-19 crossed 500,000 in the US. While the shutdown of businesses and quarantines imposed in wake of the pandemic have led to huge financial losses, many argue that economic concerns cannot be the basis of decisions that potentially endanger people’s lives.

*Feature Image by Nikolay Romensky via Wikimedia Commons.