Texas’s Reopening Sparks Debate

Texas's Reopening Sparks Debate

Maxwell Valin

On March 2, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas made a formal announcement that through Executive Order GA-34, the state would see a lift to all restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the raging COVID-19 virus. The announcement, made at Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock, Texas, came mere minutes after the governor teased a big surprise coming soon via his account on Twitter.

During the press conference, Abbott emphasized that Texas’ ability to reopen in such a fast, unprecedented way was due to the newly available vaccines, as well as other medical protocols developed to aid in the situation. ​”With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs,” Abbott said, “Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus.” Not only does the lift remove all state rules regarding quarantining, but it also lifts the mask mandate that the state has been under since early last July.

In recent weeks, discussion about reopening states and ending quarantine laws has hit an all-time high, with many states leaning heavily one way or the other. Governor Newsom of California shared his thoughts on the matter by tweeting that Abbott’s latest move is “absolutely reckless.” Many other states seem to have a different response, however. Both Mississippi and Wyoming have also announced their intentions to fully open back up within a short period of time, in a very similar fashion to Texas.

The overall response to the announcement has been very split, with many people praising Abbotts’ efforts, while others say that the move is dangerous. People in favor of the lift have often cited statistics comparing Florida, which has had very little restrictions or mandates, to California, which has arguably the strictest in the country. The data shows that despite the radically different approaches to combating the virus, the trajectory of case counts and death rates has followed a very similar pattern, showing evidence that lockdowns are not as effective as they are claimed to be. On the other hand, many people are speaking out against what they consider to be a premature reopening of the state, with the reason that lifting restrictions so soon could lead to a spike in both cases and deaths among the population.

At this point in time, the effects this decision will have on the health of Texans is unknown, but people anxiously await to see what the data will show. With an increasing amount of vaccines being distributed every day, the likelihood of a return to normal across the country is becoming a not-so-distant dream for Americans everywhere. Only time will tell if Texas made the call too early.