The end of the state mask mandates spells the beginning of private disputes over the wearing of masks

On March 10th, Governor Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate for Texas.

There have been mixed emotions about this controversial decision and some businesses are trying to figure out what to make of the situation. Although vaccines are rolling out to more and more people, Texas, and the US in general, is nowhere near fully vaccinated, so opening to full capacity isn’t very safe for everyone since only around 16% of Texans are fully vaccinated

The irresponsible and inconsiderate actions of Greg Abbott will cause the number of COVID-19 cases to skyrocket due to the fact that people will be able to gather in large groups, and most likely will not be socially distanced or wearing masks. In fact there has been a weekly average of 3,000-4,000 new cases in Texas since the mask mandate was lifted.

This does not only affect people who are now more susceptible to the different strains of COVID-19, through the opening of restaurants, bars, or any other place where people can gather. The virus is now more likely to reach those who have been cautious this entire time. 

To date, the United States has reached around a vaccination level of just over 18%, Texas on the other hand is lower than that at just 16%. This means that while everyone can go out and gather in packed places, only around 1 in 6 of those people is likely to be vaccinated. 

Variants of COVID-19 are also likely to be spread due to this extreme change. 

From the Business Insider: “States lifting restrictions are dealing with virus variants, including the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant. Several cases of that variant have been discovered in states dropping restrictions, including a growing number in Texas.” 

People may argue that, “by opening up businesses it will cause herd immunity, so it’s okay for people to get it.” Although this could work in theory, 65-80% of the population would need to be fully vaccinated and immune from the virus. 

To combat the stubborn people who refuse to wear a mask, many businesses have made it mandatory for people to wear one, if they want to enter the establishment. These businesses have been met with resistance and threats.

One Galveston woman was arrested, not because she refused to wear a mask inside a bank, but because she refused to leave when asked. She was arrested and charged with trespassing.

Another restaurant owner in Denton, TX reported receiving an influx of calls from community members who only wanted to argue about the business’ mask requirement.

COVID-19 is not slowing down any time soon, and the numbers in Texas are showing that. People are getting sick and many are dying because of it, according to a CNN article, “As of Monday evening, Texas has more than 2.7 million Covid-19 cases and more than 47,000 deaths, according to data by Johns Hopkins University.”

While some may say that it is their ‘right’ or that it is ‘taking away their freedom’ to wear a mask, it is also a business owner’s right to refuse service to anyone for any reason they have and the only thing taking away the freedom of people are the ones spreading the virus even more by not wearing one. So, as of right now, what I believe is the best thing to do is suck in your pride and just WEAR A MASK.