Abbott lifts mandates

Gov. Greg Abbott

In an address in Lubbock Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reversed his mask mandate imposed eight months ago, along with most other COVID-19 orders he signed last year.

Effective Wednesday, March 10, masks can come off, and all businesses regardless of classifications can open to 100% capacity.

Abbott said if COVID-19 hospitalizations rise above 15% for seven straight days, county judges may opt to impose stricter mitigation strategies, but they cannot impose face mask restrictions.

The governor acknowledged that the virus hadn’t disappeared completely, but said “state mandates are no longer needed.”

Abbott specified that “under no circumstances” can county judges jail someone for not following their orders, and they cannot impose penalties for failure to wear a mask. Even if local restrictions are triggered, businesses must still be allowed to operate at a 50% minimum capacity.

Locally, Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky McCutchen said the district would follow Abbott’s latest executive order, including the Texas Education Agency’s minimum health standards for public schools.

Said McCutchen, “Decisions on how we will move forward will be shared as soon as we received updated guidance from TEA.”

As of press time, TEA had not issued any directives to the state’s public schools.

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