Texas' planned reopening gets mixed reaction



A grocery worker pulls a pallet of bottled water at a Market Street store in Odessa, Texas. [Photo/Agencies]


Almost one year since Texas went into a lockdown to fight COVID-19, the Lone Star State will be putting out the "open for business'' sign statewide and ending mandatory mask wearing.

Reaction to Governor Greg Abbott's announcement on Tuesday that on March 10 businesses will be allowed to reopen 100 percent, and the statewide mask-wearing will end ranged from "Neanderthal thinking'' by President Joe Biden to "Love our governor!''

Biden told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that Texas and Mississippi lifting their mask mandates was "a big mistake".

"The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask and forget it," Biden said. "It's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water. Do it frequently, wear a mask and stay socially distanced. And I know you all know that. I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it."

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves on Tuesday said that as of Wednesday, he was getting rid of most mask mandates and is also lifting most other restrictions, including limits on seating in restaurants. Reeves said that the number of people hospitalized because of the virus has decreased in recent weeks, and vaccination numbers are increasing. On Tuesday, Reeves lifted the state's county-specific mask mandates after ending the state order in September.

While COVID-19 infection and death numbers in Texas have dropped sharply from their peak, the trend is edging upward again, and only about 6.5 percent of Texas residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to covidtracking.com, the state's daily new cases of COVID-19 infections jumped to 7,747 on Tuesday from a low point of 4,484 on Feb 21. The number of related new deaths went up to 271 from 130 on the same dates.

So far, Texas has had more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases throughout the pandemic, second only to California, and more than 43,000 related deaths. Nationwide, the US sees around 70,000 new cases and 2,000 new deaths a day.

Dr Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and head of Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness, told Sirius XM Doctor Radio Reports that he was "mortified and disgusted" by the move.

"It's not only reckless for the citizens of Texas, it's reckless for all of us," he said. "If we don't have consistent policies around mass business openings, school openings, that means that there's going to be hideaways for the virus to start replicating even quicker, and that will spread to other communities that are being more responsible."

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council issued a statement that Abbott's decision to remove the mask mandate "is very unfortunate and could increase community spread of COVID-19 and potentially cause mutations called variants".

Abbot's executive order also removes the ability of local authorities to impose a mask mandate. As a result, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitely immediately issued a statement to rescind his own "executive order requiring face coverings on businesses and their patrons". The Fort Worth-area county has a population of a little more than 2 million.

"If he's going to lift the mask mandate, why did he wait until next Wednesday?" Whitley said. "What's going to happen between now and next Wednesday except that people are going to be mad?"

Judge Clay Jerkins of neighboring Dallas County — population 2.6 million — urged the public to listen to science and experts, not the governor.

"But for us here in North Texas, and for all Texans, we need to focus not on what the governor tells you the law allows, but on what doctors and the facts and the science that we all know well at this point tell us is necessary to keep us safe and give us our best chance of reaching herd immunity as quickly as possible," he said at a virtual news conference on Tuesday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was more direct to criticize Abbott: "The governor is wrong to roll back the statewide mask order. The decision is not supported by most medical professionals, science and data. The Texas Legislature must speak up, and the people of Texas must hold their leaders accountable," he said in a statement.

Texas businesses reacted differently to Abbott's order.

Hyatt Hotels Corp, Target, Kroger's grocery store chain, Starbucks and CVS Health are among the major corporations saying they have no plans to drop mask requirements.

Grocery chain H-E-B, which was much praised for its supply availability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said in a statement that customers will be encouraged but not required to wear masks in its stores, but it will require employees and vendors to wear masks.

The Texas Classroom Teachers Association (TCTA) called for enforcement of current health measures.

"In the absence of widespread availability of vaccines, and given the state's refusal to prioritize school employees for vaccination, the removal of statewide health protocols is premature and will undo the progress that we have been making in getting the virus under control," TCTA Executive Director Jeri Stone said in a statement. "We call on the TEA [Texas Education Agency] commissioner and school districts across the state to continue to enforce best practice recommendations from health experts and the CDC to better ensure the health and safety of their students, teachers and communities."

Among individual Texans, some supported while others opposed Abbott's order.

"Love our governor! People need to get back to work and school. Time for government to stop handicapping businesses and families for their own personal profits. Governor Abbott puts Texas first above leftists' crazy ideas," said San Antonio resident Jana Galloway.

"My heart hurts! Ironically, today we received my brother's death certificates. It states the cause of death: pneumonia due to COVID-19. The same day Governor Abbott announcing 100 percent opening and ending the statewide mask mandate! My heart hurts, how many more lives will be lost in order for people to rush to feel ‘normal again?'" Facebook user Lillie Lopez posted.

While some said that Abbott's order was an attempt to deflect public attention on his handling of the recent Texas freezing disaster that left millions of people in the dark for days, some said that the governor is trying to take credit for the future.

"Let's face it, the governor is being calculating. This will not necessarily kill Texas because President Biden is trying his best to have everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible. The situation may not turn out to be as bad as people fear. Abbott will just claim credit to any improvement in the Texas economy," said Houston resident Isabella Jones.

在德克萨斯因对抗新冠肺炎而被封锁近一年后,孤星之州将在全州范围内张贴“开业”标志,并停止强制佩戴口罩。


对州长格雷格·艾伯特(Greg Abbott)周二宣布将于3月10日100%允许企业重新开业,以及全州范围内佩戴面具将结束的反应从乔·拜登总统的“尼安德特人思维”到“爱我们的州长!''


拜登周三在白宫告诉记者,德克萨斯州和密西西比州取消口罩授权是“一个大错误”。


拜登说:“我们最不需要的是尼安德特人认为,在此期间,一切都很好,摘下你的面具,忘记它吧。”。“他们遵循科学是至关重要的,至关重要的。洗手,热水。经常这样做,戴上面具,保持社交距离。我知道你们都知道。我真希望我们的一些民选官员知道这件事。”


密西西比州州长泰特·里维斯(Tate Reeves)周二表示,截至周三,他将取消大多数口罩规定,并取消大多数其他限制,包括餐馆座位限制。里夫斯说,最近几周,因病毒住院的人数减少了,疫苗接种人数也在增加。周二,里夫斯在9月结束州政府命令后,取消了该州特定县的口罩授权。


虽然德克萨斯州的新冠肺炎感染和死亡人数已从峰值大幅下降,但这一趋势正在再次上升,只有约6.5%的德克萨斯州居民接种了新冠肺炎疫苗。


据covidtracking.com报道,该州每日新增新冠肺炎感染病例从2月21日的低点4484例跃升至周二的7747例。相关的新死亡人数从同期的130人上升到271人。


迄今为止,德克萨斯州已有超过260万例冠状病毒病例,仅次于加利福尼亚州,并有超过43,000例相关死亡。在全国范围内,美国每天大约有70,000个新病例和2,000个新死亡病例。


儿科医生兼哥伦比亚大学国家防灾中心主任欧文·雷德勒纳博士告诉天狼星XM医生电台报道,他对这一举动感到“屈辱和厌恶”。


他说:“这不仅是对德克萨斯州公民的鲁莽,也是对我们所有人的鲁莽。”。“如果我们没有关于大规模商业开放和学校开放的一致政策,这意味着病毒将会有藏身之处,开始更快地复制,并将传播到其他更负责任的社区。”


达拉斯-沃思堡医院理事会发表声明称,雅培取消口罩授权的决定“非常不幸,可能会增加新冠肺炎的社区传播,并可能导致称为变体的突变”。


方丈的行政命令也取消了地方当局强制实施假面命令的能力。因此,塔兰特县法官格伦·怀特利立即发表声明,撤销了他自己的“要求企业及其顾客佩戴面罩的行政命令”。沃思堡县的人口略多于200万。


“如果他要解除假面命令,为什么要等到下周三?”惠特利说。“从现在到下周三会发生什么,除了人们会疯掉?”


邻近的达拉斯县有260万人口,该县的法官克莱·杰金斯敦促公众听从科学和专家,而不是州长。


他在周二的一次虚拟新闻发布会上说:“但对我们北德克萨斯州的人来说,对所有德克萨斯州人来说,我们需要关注的不是州长告诉你的法律允许的内容,而是医生、事实和我们都很了解的科学在这一点上告诉我们的内容,这些内容对于保护我们的安全和让我们尽快获得群体免疫是必要的。”


休斯顿市长西尔维斯特·特纳更直接地批评了艾伯特:“州长撤销全州范围的面具令是错误的。这一决定没有得到大多数医学专业人士、科学和数据的支持。德州立法机构必须大声疾呼,德州人民必须对他们的领导人负责,”他在一份声明中说。


德州企业对雅培的订单反应不同。

凯悦酒店集团(Hyatt Hotels Corp)、塔吉特百货(Target)、克罗格连锁杂货店(Kroger's杂货连锁店)、星巴克(Starbucks)和淡水河谷(CVS Health)等大型企业表示,它们没有计划降低口罩要求。


因在新冠肺炎大流行期间供应充足而备受称赞的连锁杂货店H-E-B在一份声明中表示,将鼓励但不要求顾客在商店里戴口罩,但将要求员工和供应商戴口罩。


德克萨斯课堂教师协会(TCTA)呼吁加强当前的健康措施。


TCTA执行董事杰利·斯通在一份声明中说:“由于缺乏广泛的疫苗供应,并且该州拒绝优先考虑学校员工进行疫苗接种,取消全州范围的卫生协议为时过早,并将破坏我们在控制病毒方面取得的进展。”。“我们呼吁德州教育署(TEA)专员和全州的学区继续执行卫生专家和疾控中心的最佳实践建议,以更好地确保学生、教师和社区的健康和安全。”


在德州人中,一些人支持艾伯特的命令,而另一些人反对。


“爱我们的总督!人们需要回到工作和学校。政府是时候停止为了个人利益而阻碍企业和家庭了。圣安东尼奥居民贾纳·盖洛维说:“艾伯特州长把德克萨斯州放在左派疯狂想法的首位。


“我的心好痛!具有讽刺意味的是,今天我们收到了我哥哥的死亡证明。它陈述了死亡原因:新冠肺炎引起的肺炎。就在同一天,艾伯特州长宣布100%开放和结束全州范围的面具授权!我的心好痛,为了让人们赶紧觉得“又恢复正常了”,还会失去多少生命?脸书用户莉莉艾·洛佩兹发布。


虽然一些人说艾伯特的命令是为了转移公众对他处理最近德克萨斯州冰冻灾难的注意力,这场灾难让数百万人蒙在鼓里几天,但一些人说州长试图为未来邀功。


“让我们面对现实吧,省长是被算计了。这不一定会杀死德克萨斯州,因为拜登总统正在尽最大努力让每个人尽快接种疫苗。情况可能没有人们担心的那么糟糕。休斯顿居民伊莎贝拉·琼斯说:“雅培公司将把德州经济的任何改善归功于它。”。


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